It’s very tempting to settle into your most comfortable chair for a marathon session of your favorite TV show at the end of a long workweek. But have you considered how this indulgence may affect your health? Before you make a date with Netflix this weekend, learn the hidden dangers of binge watching and blood clots.
How Does the Body React to Prolonged Sitting?
With the variety of streaming services available, sitting and watching television has become a commonplace activity. Although it’s relaxing, researchers and public health experts have discovered that sitting for long periods of time is dangerous to your health and puts you at risk for a number of problems.
Prolonged sitting is linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that significantly increases your propensity for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. High blood pressure, increased blood sugar, high cholesterol and excess body fat around your waist are just a few of the negative effects of sitting still for long periods of time. Unfortunately, these effects can also lead to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.
Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis are further complications caused by excessive sitting. During periods when you’re immobile, blood clots can form inside a deep vein in your body. Your lower legs and thighs are the most common areas where a blood clot can form, although they can also occur in the deep veins of your pelvis and arms.
In addition to obesity, metabolic syndrome and blood clots, research has shown that people who spend more than four hours in front of the television have a 125 percent increased risk of suffering a heart attack or experiencing chest pain. They also have a nearly 50 percent increased risk of premature.
Binge watching can also affect your mental health. Sitting inside watching TV can lead to feelings of isolation or even depression as you spend less time socializing with family and friends. By curling up on your couch all weekend, you’re missing out on the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, which are essential in boosting your overall mood.
Finally, sitting for long periods of time increases your risk for developing varicose veins, so if you have a family history or personal history of developing varicose veins, or you’re in a high-risk category, you will want to avoid binge-watching on the couch.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Health Problems
There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of health problems associated with binge-watching TV. The first of these is likely the easiest: simply don’t binge watch at all. Find other ways to relax and improve your mood that don’t involve sitting. These may include going for a walk with a friend, gardening, volunteering your time at a local charity or taking a cooking class. Anything that gets you moving and socializing with other people is an excellent alternative.
If the urge to binge watch the latest season of your favorite show is impossible to resist, you can minimize any negative effects by working out during your marathon TV-viewing sessions. At the end of every episode, do a few jumping jacks, complete a set of push-ups, run in place, take a few minutes to stretch or even go for a walk around the block. Whenever you plan to sit for long periods of time, you can wear compression stockings and flex your calf muscles frequently to improve blood flow and reduce your risk of developing a dangerous blood clot.
Help for DVT Blood Clots and Varicose Veins in Middle Georgia
Is your couch looking less inviting yet? If you are concerned about your risk of blood clots or varicose veins caused by prolonged sitting, contact us today to schedule a consultation at Vein Specialists of the South in Macon and Warner Robins. Dr. Kenneth Harper is a leader in the field, and he can provide answers to any questions you might have about how blood clots and varicose veins form, risk factors and options for prevention, detection and treatment.