Want to increase your odds of healthy aging? Experts say turn off the TV

According to a new study, swapping screen time for physical activity can do wonders

10 reasons why walking is beneficial to your health.1. A 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health says walking can put you in a "better mood.".2. Another report, in JAMA Psychiatry, says it can also help prevent depression.3. According to a Stanford University analysis, walking pumps more oxygen into your brain, therefore increasing alertness.4. A 2014 study from the California college adds that your creative output will receive a boost, as well.5. A University of Missouri study found walking reduces stress by increasing blood flow.6. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute say walking an hour on a daily basis can increase longevity.7. A study from Appalachian State University adds that your immune system can be boosted by moving 30 to 45 minutes each day.8. According to the American Cancer Society, walking every day lowers your risk of getting cancer.9. A 2011 study from the International Journal of General Medicine adds it also helps with digestion.10. Have painful inflammation? The Arthritis Foundation says walking can even help with joint pain

For those looking to increase their odds of aging gracefully, it might be time to hit that TV “off” button.

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Dr. Molin Wang studied the habits of more than 45,000 people and discovered that too much time in front of the television can come with some serious health risks over the years.

Published in JAMA Network Open, the senior study author and his fellow researchers reported their findings after analyzing data from 45,176 women concerning their sedentary behaviors. The data was made possible by the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed participants 50 years or older from 1992 to 2012. Wang and his team then analyzed the data over a five-month period in 2022.

“Our take-home message is that replacing TV time with light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and sleep (for participants with inadequate sleep) is beneficial to healthy aging,” Wang told CNN.

In the study, healthy aging was defined as living to at least 70 years old while experiencing no major chronic diseases or impairment to memory, mental health or physical function. While sedentary behavior was split into three categories (watching TV, sitting at work and sitting at home), it was the time in front of the TV that stood out in the study.

“In this cohort study, longer television watching time decreased odds of healthy aging, whereas LPA and MVPA increased odds of healthy aging and replacing sitting watching television with LPA ((hours of standing or walking around at home) or MVPA (moderate-to-vigorous physical activity), or with sleep in those who slept 7 hours per day or less, was associated with increased odds of healthy aging, providing evidence for rearranging 24-hour behavior to promote overall health,” the researchers reported.

For every two hours watching TV, study participants were associated with a 12% decrease in their odds of healthy aging. Performing two hours of light physical activity at work, on the other hand, boosted those odds by 6%