Television and health just how bad is it?

The Good Life Letter 

Sunday 21st August  2011

  • The daftest headline in the Times today actually rings TRUE!
  • What's the real link between television and health
  • ...And to make sure you start each day with eager anticipation

Well, first, please let me explain my total confusion about the headline on page 12 of the Times newspaper today. It was banging on about television and health ...

"Watching too much TV is as harmful as smoking" it roared at me and then went on to grumble a bit about the latest research at the University of Queensland showing that every hour of watching TV reduced your lifespan by twenty-two minutes.

Well, that's surely a good thing, I said to Lara. You spend sixty minutes watching TV yet you only lose twenty-two minutes of your life. Surely you are now thirty-eight minutes up on your lifespan.

When Lara could get her pitying guffaws under control she explained that you lose the sixty minutes of your life AND the twenty-two minutes.

Not so good now!

In fact if you are over 25 and watch six hours of TV a day, you can be checking out a good five years earlier than if you had done something more interesting instead.

It  makes perfect sense now I think about it. If you are lounging in front the telly for six hours a day you won't be up and about burning your calories and therefore you are likely to be cursed with obesity with all those health problems that come with it.

There is much more car-driving going on these days as well as jobs that need you to sit all day so naturally the watching too much TV problem extends to other lifestyles too.

BUT there is far more to this story in the Times than TV watching leading to too little exercise. There is another vital factor.

You see, the big difference between working on your bottom or driving all day and passively watching TV all day is a matter of using your brain.

It sounds so obvious but when you are hurtling down the M1 or trying to make sense of your wayward sales figures you are using your brain. And an active brain is a young brain.

So to keep our lifespan and our brain function at their maximum potential we should cut down on sitting in front of the TV for hours, not just because it stops us using up calories in exercise but because it cannot stimulate our brain in the same way as the real world can.

You know by now that I am a big fan of little but regular bits of exercise. If I wasn't I'd be a complete lardy cake by now.

But when I stop and really think about it I realise I still feel eighteen because my mind is always buzzing with ideas and medical research and new recipes, the children, - lots of different things.

But one thing that I think I enjoy most of all is Lara's little face first thing in the morning when the postman comes. She's always entering competitions and has won quite a few things - nothing enormous yet but as she says, "You just wait, Ray Collins"

I never get to see the Times 2 section of the Times with all its puzzles because Lara has wrestled it out of my hands before I've even got through the door. She also does the puzzles in Simply Prizes, the UK's leading competitions magazine because there is £1000 to be won every month and only a small number of entries.

And I have definitely seen a spring in her step since she started comping, not just from the prizes that she has already won in a short space of time but because she is so excited about the postman walking up our driveway in the morning. She says that's because he might be bringing another prize and that's the answer I am choosing to believe because he must be seventy if he's a day.

So, come on, keep those limbs and joints moving and make sure you exercise your brain too for a longer and happier life.

If you want to get started on the amazing world of entering competitions your best bet is to have a look at Simply Prizes magazine. There's a holiday to Las Vegas worth £3,500 including a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon as well as over 400 other great competitions you could win in August's issue alone.


Yours, as always





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