People who exercise just a little bit each day may boost their lifespan while TV addicts could be taking years off their life, two studies published on Tuesday suggest.
Research has shown that the health messages have the greatest effect on changing people’s behaviors need to be easy to understand, specific to the individual, and be phrased in a gained-framed and positive manner. Longevity is associated with physical activity. People understand what it means if you tell them they will live 2½ years longer if they become active.
Compared with individuals who said they were physically inactive, people who were in a group of “low-volume” exercise had a 14-percent reduced risk of premature death from all causes, and a 10-percent reduced risk of death from cancer.
The “low volume” category applied to people whose total exercise of all kinds averaged 92 minutes per week, or about 15 minutes a day. On an average, their life expectancy was three years longer than inactive counterparts.
Separately, researchers in Australia found that watching TV or videos for an average of six hours a day could shorten the viewer’s life expectancy by almost five years. The data were then checked against Australia’s national population and mortality figures for 2008. Australian adults aged 25 and older spent 9.8 billion hours in front of the small screen, and that this time was associated with 286,000 years of life that ended prematurely.
Every single hour of TV watched after the age of 25 shortened the viewer’s life expectancy by just under 22 minutes, according to an extrapolation of these figures. In actuarial terms, an hour in front of the box had roughly the same effect on life expectancy as smoking two cigarettes.
In an extreme case, someone who spends a lifetime average of six hours a day watching TV — in the top one percent of the viewing population — can expect to live 4.8 years less than someone who does not watch TV, according to their calculation.
The investigators point the finger at TV watching not because of the programmes themselves but because of the dangers of physical inactivity that come from prolonged spells on the sofa.
A sedentary lifestyle is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, excess weight and other health problems.
Findings revealed that even exercise at a level equivalent to brisk walking for up to 75 minutes per week was associated with an average increase in life expectancy of 1.8 years compared to those who did not exercise.