Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center

Healthy You

January 30, 2020

Less Viewing More Doing

Colder weather may have you spending more time cozied up in front of the TV and you aren’t alone! From winter sports fans to those who love awards show season, you may just be clocking more time in front of the TV. While many people enjoy a good Netflix® binge, it’s also important to remember that while we are relaxing we also need to move, care for and nourish our bodies well, winter or not.

Too much time watching season after season of your favorite show is likely leaving you feeling a little less than average. There is a reason sedentary people struggle to get moving! Once you stop it can be hard to start. From feeling stiff to just plain unmotivated it can be frustrating to start focused physical activity. The more you try to move now will make it easier and easier as you go along! Here are some helpful guidelines to encourage and motivate all couch potatoes this winter.

Set a 30 minute time limit. Promise yourself you will get up and move every 30 minutes. While we would prefer that stroll isn’t to the fridge for extra fuel every 30 minutes we do want you to move. Stretch, get some water, walk the dog. Just move! Moving every 30 minutes is a great rule whether you are sucked into a new TV series, murder mystery novel or glued to your desk.

Be an active listener! Continuous movement while watching a screen or listening to your favorite podcast is a great way to meet in the middle. Marching in place, walking the treadmill or even just standing while you do these things can help you from getting sucked into hibernation mode on the couch. We find that if you commit to moving for at least 10 consecutive minutes at the beginning of your new favorite podcast or even football game, you will likely not only keep moving longer, but more likely to take breaks from sitting or lying in front of a TV too long. Not only that, after about 10 minutes your adrenaline might even kick in and keep you moving longer! You can dance, clean, do squats, whatever it is you like (or maybe not like) to keep you moving.

Snack smart. Snacking in front of the TV, tablet or even while listening to music and reading can be a time warp. What starts with cracking open a fresh bag of treats for just a few can quickly turn into eating the whole thing. When at all possible try not to eat snacks and meals while distracted by media. If you do plan to snack try to portion out your food and drinks in the kitchen and leave the rest there. Then you can better asses what you have actually consumed. Keep in mind if you aren’t moving a lot, you aren’t burning a lot. Look for lighter options to munch on and keep water handy.

Go shower! This may seem foolish but so many people can waste the weekend away and self-care goes out the window while they continue to click, “yes I am still watching.” Make sure you aren’t letting your basic self-care needs slip away! Floss and brush your teeth, take a shower, put on clean clothes. Better yet, use your breaks to do some laundry, if you are spending the weekend in bed with a movie marathon, wash your sheets. It’s certainly ok to take some time to rest and relax but you need to make sure you are taking care of you too. If you find that too much alone time or screen time has you neglecting things as simple as putting on clean socks and brushing your hair, it’s time for a break!

Go out. Yes, sometimes you’ve got to get out of your house! Go watch the big game this weekend at a friend’s. Take a break to go buy some healthy snacks. Don’t skip that baby shower because you want to see what’s new on Hulu®. It’s important to remember that humans need social interaction! If you find that you are making up excuses or skipping events or things you used to enjoy, stop. Be aware of your habits. Some people can enter a dark hole of staying home, plugged in and overtime lose their will to stay social. Remember, even texting isn’t a substitute for a good old fashioned conversation and hug with friends and family.

From awards season to the “big game” this weekend we can all find ourselves spending more time in front of the screen. Try to balance out that time by moving, eating and caring for yourself well when you can. Sometimes we need to think of ourselves as a child, we wouldn’t let them play video games for 16 hours a day when they are out of school…should you either? Make a commitment with yourself for your best overall health this winter – to do less viewing and more doing!

Mary Hoadley, Director of The Wellness Center