The majority of homes in the world have at least one television. That’s just in the world, whereas virtually all homes in the developed world have a television. And if you’re reading this article, you probably do too.
Some say that television should be completely eliminated from you home, and some moms even institute a zero screen time policy for their kids, but is that really realistic?
Extremes are never the right path. In fact, if you want yourself and your children to participate in society, it’s almost essential to have a television, so you can keep up with the shows and news that everyone else is watching. And since the price of televisions begin at a very affordable number, watching television is something that spans socioeconomic levels as well.
There are some downsides that come with this affordable technology, however. Perhaps the most obvious is that watching TV normally means sitting down for extended periods of time, and might even mean indulging in an unhealthy snack, or two, or three or 10.
What’s more, in this day in age, most people work too much or too hard. And they then have childcare duties on top of that, so sitting down in front of the TV becomes the generally agreed upon way to relax and unwind at the end of a long day.
If this sounds familiar, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself, it’s completely natural and normal to want to disconnect after a stressful day.
But it’s also important that your children learn healthy TV habits from you, especially during their most formative years.
So if you are thinking that you want to make a few small changes in your life and your child’s life so that you can be a healthier family, the TV can play a big role in that. In fact, even just where you decide to put your TV can end up having a huge effect on your lifestyle, for better or for worse.
If you want to know where to put your TV for a healthier lifestyle, check out these tips, and get started on your journey to a healthier you:
If you are serious about making healthy lifestyle changes, consider encouraging your family to use your TV for more than just watching. Make sure you put your TV next to the gaming console, and purchase games that involve standing up and physical activity like dancing or tennis.
There are tons of games available on the market that require physical activity. This is also a great way to get the whole family up and off the couch as well.
The best 55’ smart TVs will have incredible resolution that will help you become completely absorbed in the activity or game, so you will burn calories without even knowing it. And since you and your children will be physically engaged, there won’t be mindless snacking.
Away from the kitchen
If you love TV and you love snacking, then you probably know that watching TV is also a great time for mindless calorie consumption. And studies show that those who eat meals or snacks while watching TV eat more calories as well.
In order to combat this tendency to snack while watching TV, make it more difficult for yourself to do so. Choose a space for your TV that is as far away from the kitchen as possible. The opposite side of the house if you can. Up or down a flight of stairs would be even better.
This will have two positive effects:
- The TV being farther away from the kitchen makes snacking less convenient
- You’ll have a longer walk to grab snacks, giving you the chance to think about if you really feel hungry or are just eating to eat.
Combat all of that sitting time with a bit of movement and fresh air.
Put your TV in a room with an outdoor exit in it. Maybe your living room opens to the front yard. Or maybe your basement has outdoor access.
This way, you can obligate yourself to take a short walk around the block during every commercial break and in between shows. After all, walking just 10 minutes, three times a day will have a huge benefit on your overall health.
If you are watching a show with your child, you can even challenge them to a race during the commercial breaks!
Another great thing about walking? Short walks may help you forget about food cravings.
Make space for exercise
A horrifying study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that people gain .31 pounds over four years for every hour of television watched. That’s a lot! If this sounds like something that might have happened or may be happening to you, the good news is that you can get back on the right track!
So what should you do?
Try putting your TV in a space where you can easily do workouts. For instance, if you have a treadmill or elliptical machine, make sure there’s room in your designated TV room for that.
If you don’t have one of those machines, you can do some of the following exercises:
- Jumping lunges
- Jumping squats
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope
Combine these strengthening and cardio exercises into a short fitness routine—think 20 seconds of each with a 10 second break in between each exercise, and then repeat for three rounds. If you do this every time you watch TV, you will definitely begin to notice changes in your health.
The stairs are you friend
Now this idea should potentially be paired with the section above, but it’s so ingenious that it gets its own well-deserved section!
Put your TV in a room with stairs in it or next to it. Whenever it’s time for a commercial break, that means it’s time to hit the stairs. Studies are showing that short stints of high-intensity cardio can be way more effective for weight loss and general cardiovascular health than prolonged sessions of moderate cardio.
Not to mention running up those stairs will do wonders for the toning of your butt and thighs!
And whatever you do…
Do not put your TV in the bedroom!!!
If you love cuddling under the covers before bedtime and watching your favorite show, this one might be hard to do. But if you’re really serious about making healthy lifestyle changes, you just have to do it.
When you put your TV in your bedroom, you make it so easy to be done being active for the rest of the day or night. You’re probably watching in your pajamas, so there’s no way you’re going to go for a walk, or run up and down the stairs during commercial breaks.
Also, many people develop unhealthy habits when watching TV in bed, especially when it comes to night time snacking. Taking your TV out of the bedroom might need to be the first step you take to a healthier you.
It’s always hard to break habits, especially habits that you find really enjoyable, and even more especially habits that the whole family enjoys. Sometimes, the most unhealthy habits are the hardest habits to change. And you might think that it’s not worth changing habits that you’ve had for so long, because it won’t make a difference.
But it will make a difference!
Especially in your children’s lives.
And you can do it.
It’s never too late to change.
So, the next time you are watching TV—including if that’s right now, you multitasker you—take a look around and ask yourself if your TV is in the best space for your and your children’s physical health.
If it isn’t, take a deep breath, move the TV, put on some athletic clothing and shoes, and promise yourself to commit to this first step to living a healthier lifestyle for your mind, your heart, your body and your family.