By Wendy Haaf
If you’re physically active for three or fewer hours each week, sitting and watching five hours or more of television a day could triple your chances of having difficulty walking or of being unable to walk at all within 10 years.
In a study of the relationship between activity levels and later mobility, US scientists looked at how much time participants spent sitting, watching TV, and engaging in various levels of physical activity. What they found, in brief, is that too much TV viewing can be bad for you, and too much TV combined with lack of exercise can be even worse.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 134,000 US adults who were healthy and aged 51 to 70 upon enrolling in a major diet and health study. Just under 10 years later, nearly 30% of those adults reported a mobility disability. Compared with people who watched the least TV—less than two hours a day—participants who viewed five hours or more had a 65% higher incidence of mobility problems. Low levels of physical activity increased the likelihood of problems.
The results were published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.