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Take a TV break!

Posted Jan 04 2010 12:00am

A break from your TV, that is.

This is a good example of a small, relatively painless step that can improve your health in the new year (see my post about do-able resolutions). Even better, you don’t need to invest any extra time to make it happen.

A recent study at the University of Vermont showed that people who cut their daily hours of TV viewing in half, but did nothing else differently, expended an average of 120 more calories per day than a control group who watched a minimum of three hours of television a day (and believe it or not, the average adult watches five hours per day).

The first group did not overhaul their eating habits, begin workout programs, or change anything else about their daily routines. They simply replaced 50 percent of their usual TV watching with some other activity. Participants reported using the extra time to read, organize photo albums, or play board games with their kids.

Over time, burning 120 extra calories per day can make a big difference.

I’m not saying cancel your cable subscription -- just try cutting your tube time in half. And don’t feel you have to organize your closets, either. After all, part of the reason you watch TV is to chill out and unwind at the end of the day, right? So find another way to chill. Take up a hobby. Read a mystery novel. Listen to music. Paint your toenails. Almost anything you can do with your time (besides sleep) will use up more energy than watching TV.

As a side benefit, you may discover you have more hours in your day than you thought you did.
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