The growing prevalence of increased screen time (TV and computer use) is cause for concern among youths. A recent study published by the ACSM, tested how large amounts of screen time were related to trunk strength; the strength of the abdominal and back extension muscles.
The researchers obtained details from over 600 adolescents about how much time they spent on the computer or TV each day. They then proceeded to test both the trunk flexion and extension strength of each of the participants. Simply put, what they found was an inverse relationship between trunk strength and screen time.
While the results of this study speak for themselves, there are more effects of sedentary behavior and large amounts of screen time to consider. The other behaviors that accompany this lifestyle can also be detrimental to fitness and health. Long periods of inactivity, bad posture, and unhealthy food choices can all have negative effects on your health. Advertisements on the TV and computer may also influence behavior and lead to poor health choices.
The minimum level of physical activity suggested by the AHA and other prominent health organizations is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise spread out over five days. This goal is easily reachable by cutting back just a half hour of screen time a day and using that time to exercise. There is no need to feel obligated to get into the gym to exercise however, just getting outside and walking, running or biking will get the job done and the benefits of exercise and an active lifestyle will be soon to follow.
For more exercise ideas, as well as a full review of the exercise guidelines, check out our article from last August. Stay Active: Simple Guidelines to a Healthier Life.