Too much TV in your 40s, 50s can affect brain function: What you can do to fix it

In your 40s, 50s, and 60s, the more television you watch, the higher your risk of developing mental health problems later in life.

According to three new studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021 last week, this is the case.

The research employed television viewing as a proxy for sedentary behavior (i.e., time spent sitting). Participants’ brain health was then assessed by answering questions about their viewing habits, taking cognitive tests, and receiving brain MRI scans.

The amount of content absorbed during leisure time was used to gauge TV viewing:

  • Low TV watching (never or seldom)
  • Moderate (sometimes)
  • High (often/very often)

The researchers’ findings show that persons who watch moderate or excessive (high) quantities of television later in life have more cognitive loss and less gray matter in their brains. Decision-making, hearing and vision, and muscle control are all aided by gray matter.

The researchers also discovered that the favorable effects of physical activity were not always enough to offset or compensate for the detrimental effects of viewing television. However, this does not imply that we should stop exercising.

To arrest this decline, Heather Snyder, PHD, the Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relationships outlines in the various steps.

Brisk walking for at least 2.5 miles per hour- Instead of picking up a remote to watch television, pick up an interesting book or go for a walk.

Or, go for swin, dancing, tennis, gardening, tennis, biking but slower.

To make it more interesting, you can decide to go for intense running, hiking uphill, jumping ropes, digging, aerobic dancing. Or, stimulate the brain functions by knitting, completing crosswords, or playing an instrument.

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