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Inescapable Screen Habits
Move Through It
Inescapable Screen Habits
It's not a secret that the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That means 17% of your week is spent in front of the tube. I venture it's more than that, but those stats come directly from Nielsen. Not surprisingly, digital screen time (i.e., surfing, FB, TikTok, etc.) is even higher, coming in at almost 8 hours per day. This marks a 47% increase in screen time since 2015!
Inversely, research shows that Americans' average time spent in physical activity is only 2 hours per week. That's only half the activity recommended by CDC. The decline in physical activity and the rise in sedentary screen time equates to skyrocketing health risks like metabolic disorders, diabetes, and obesity – especially in younger and younger folks.
Screen or TV time is an inescapable habit – good or bad. Noticeable adverse effects include eye strain, impaired social skills, inadequate physical activity, IQ decline, increased aggression, and more. However, screen time in many forms can entertain us, bring us good information, and even help us relax. And it's convenient. Regrettably, I don't see our prevalent reliance on digital media going away, so let's leverage it. If we can't beat 'em, join 'em. . . kinda.
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. We can make it more meaningful without giving up our coveted screen time. For example, instead of watching those time-wasting viral TikToks, how about watching entertaining and educational YouTubes on fitness, nutrition, or other health-related topics? These are quite fascinating and enjoyable. And they bring apparent benefits.
No eye-rolling. Hear me out. The gems of knowledge that you'll absorb from changing your viewing content will help you course-correct little by little. I contend that you will come to relish these thought-provoking programs. Learning about nutrition will help you train more successfully. Watching a documentary on longevity may bring about better-eating habits. Meaningful content will slowly seep into your being.
Great podcasts are another readily available option with excellent subject matter and screen-time. The brain is more active while listening to podcasts than when watching television. Podcasts require listeners to use their imagination rather than spoon-feeding visual accompaniment.
Coach's sidebar: Tom Bilyeu's "Impact Theory" is one of my favorite YouTube channels. Tom interviews a cadre of talented speakers and experts on many topics. I always gain usable info from his videos. One of my favorite podcasts is "The Drive" by Peter Attia, M.D. His focus is maximizing longevity. Captivating!
Stop watching questionable content. Network news is depressing, sensational, and even scandalous – on purpose. It is an energy drain and is detrimental to your mental state. I don't think I need to expound on social media and other time-sucks that exist on the Internet. If you just can't put down the FB feed, limit it. Do your best to dump the goofy junk, the reality TV, and the mind-numbing clutter. Senseless screen-time produces alpha brainwave patterns associated with subconscious acceptance. Block the manipulation.
Suppose you have a spark of curiosity and desire to better your life situation. In that case, you will benefit from shifting your screen time to something more significant. Find unquestionable content that works for you.
Move Through It
Next step: Combine screen time and physical activity. It's easy. Get up and move when in front of a screen. Ride a stationary bike while you watch a new video. Lift weights while watching Monday night football. Do stretches while watching your favorite Netflix show. Take a walk with a podcast.
Coach's challenge: Try this advanced workout for those who already enjoy stationary biking. Stand up while pedaling instead of sitting. Doing 30 minutes of stand-up pedaling four times a week will quickly get you to a different level of fitness. One of my tricks is that while watching a TV tennis match, I'll sprint/stand pedal during the tiebreaker or for one game. And you never know how long that game will last. Incredible workout!
I prefer that you feed your brain while you feed your fitness. But, if you just can't beat the junk-screen- addiction, then at the very least accompany it with movement. Keep your screen time but kick the couch-potato habit. Once hooked on fitness, junk viewing will fall by the wayside. You'll move through it and seek content that serves healthier goals.
Time is the hammock in which everything exists. We can live in the present, the past, and the future all at once. It's unique to being human. Don't relinquish precious time plugged into someone else's matrix. Screen time can be a tremendous resource if appropriately handled. Like sugar is a deceitful food, TV and social media can be fraudulent contrivances.
Life doesn't have to be about learning every second. We are free to do with our lives as we choose. I suggest selecting the uncommon path. Commit to meaningful time utilization and leverage it toward improving healthspan.
Learn, Share, Inspire
Be well, my friends,