Sitting for too long can lead to pulmonary embolism.
What do you have planned this Labor Day Weekend?
Like most of us, you'll be catching up on something you've been missing - whether it's sleep, travel, or time with friends or family.
Or maybe you've got a well-earned date with your DVR or Netflix to binge watch whatever you've been missing.
For many of us over 50, it's the NCIS and other crime drama marathons on the USA Network that tempt us. And with the opening weekend of college football and baseball pennant races heating up, plenty of us will be sitting in front of our screens rooting for our favorite teams for hours on end. (Tailgating instead? Check out these tips for keep you from getting sick from foodborne illnesses.)
And now for the major buzzkill: The latest study coming out of Japan and delivered last week to the European Society of Cardiology shows that watching television for such prolonged periods isn't always good for us.
A study released by the Department of Social Medicine at Osaka University shows that those prolonged television viewers have a higher risk of pulmonary embolism. In fact when studying 86,000 people who watched an average of five or more hours a day had twice the risk compared to those who watch less than 2 ½ hours a day. The study took into account viewing habits of those between 40 and 79.
Toru Shirakawa, a public health research fellow at the university, says there's been an association between prolonged sitting and pulmonary embolism going back to when people were stuck in air raid shelters in London during World War II. More recently, he says, there have been cases of pulmonary embolism in those taking long-haul flights in economy class. In fact, it's prolonged sitting of any type, including using the computer.
Researchers say there were 59 deaths from pulmonary embolism in their study based on reviewing death certificates. That's where they came out with analysis that showed that those who watched more than five hours of TV a day had twice the risk.
"We showed that prolonged television viewing may be a risky behavior for death from pulmonary embolism," Shirakawa says. "Leg immobility during television viewing may in part explain the finding."
Shirakawa encourages people to take the same steps that are already recommended for long-haul flights. Stand up and walk around while watching whatever guilty pleasure you have on the boob tube - and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.