Swapping 30 minutes of daily TV or home computer use (leisure screen time) with activities like leisurely walking, gardening, home improvement projects or formal exercise was associated with a 3 to 13% decreased risk of premature death. That was the finding from a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which followed more than 400,000 British people (ages 40-69) for seven years. At the study start, people reported their leisure screen time and home activities. A wide range of diet and lifestyle factors were adjusted for.
Although replacing leisure screen time with vigorous exercise was associated with the greatest protection against mortality, even casual walking was associated with some protection. “This is an important message for adults for whom engaging in higher-intensity activities is less feasible or not even possible due to ill health,” says Katrien Wijndaele, PhD, the lead author of the study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The findings need to be replicated in other population groups.
To learn more: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2017