With the Super Bowl right around the corner we may need to adjust our weekend activity. Be mindful of how harmful screen time and sitting for too long can be for your overall health.
People all around the world will be sitting down on Sunday to watch the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the 56th Super Bowl game. We should also be aware of the effect that this might have on our average weekly screen time, long periods of sitting, step count, calorie intake and therefore, our overall health. Big events like the Super Bowl tend to come with increased screen time — but do you know what that is doing to your overall health and performance?
Let’s start with the daily metrics that your COROS watch tracks for you. These includes active energy, heart rate, step count, exercise time and sleep. Look at these metrics on a regular basis and try to manipulate them over time to reach your goals. If you’re training for a big event this might include strategic deloading. If you’re working to increase your overall wellness you might be strategically increasing these metrics. The effect each of these metrics has on our total health is impressive and not to be overlooked. For example, active energy expenditure can have a massive impact on weight gain or loss and overall diets, sleep and time in each stage of sleep can significantly impact your recovery and performance training.
On a weekend like this, we want to mindful of daily metric averages and hit at least those. Fans of American football will likely see a decrease in steps on Sunday and decreased, if any, exercise time. These points combined with increased calorie intake of game time snacks can really mess with any progress you have been making on your performance goals.
Long Periods of Sitting & Screen Time
The average Super Bowl game will put you in front of the TV for about 4 hours. Currently the recommendation for children is to get no more than 1-2 hours of screen time per day. For adults, it is to have minimal exposure to screens outside of the workplace. Something here does not add up. So you are going to watch the big game regardless of what the screen time recommendations are. Maybe you should know some of risk and side effects and how to combat them before Sunday rolls around. Too much screen time is associated with obesity, eye strain and headaches, chronic neck and back pain, depression and anxiety, insomnia and poor sleep.
Each of these health concerns carries is own host of complication when we look at the big picture, not to mention that increased screen time is strongly associated with long periods of sitting and inactivity. Check out your daily steps on your COROS device. Were there long periods when you did not get any steps in? Was your step count much lower than your average or the recommended 10,000 steps per day? Extended periods of inactivity (sitting) are associated with higher risk of obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Daily Workouts Might not be Enough
You might be thinking that you are safe if you work out daily even though your work at a desk job. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As we learn more in this space we are learning that your early morning run or workouts might not be enough to counter the 10 hours you sit and stare at screens all day. Longer workouts will increase step count, increase your heart rate, earn you exercise time and improve your performance, if you are not getting additional burst of movement throughout the day, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Action Steps – During the Game and Your Workdays
Take a break from sitting, about every 30 minutes. Stand or walk while on the phone. Try a standing desk, and then change from sitting to standing throughout the day. Walk to the other side of the house and back after every call. Do 10 lunges or jumping jacks every time you go to the restroom. Sneak in 5 squats after every email. There are countless ways to introduce more movement into your days. Plan ahead, especially when you know you will be siting for a long time.
While we all get comfy on the couch to watch the Super Bowl think about your overall health and performance. Give yourself and your viewing party the challenge of movement throughout the game.