Are hours of television watching and internet surfing decreasing your quality of life?
Americans watch an average of 33 hours of video (on television, internet, and mobile devices) each week, according to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report. Coupled with increasingly sedentary jobs and longer commutes, this translates into less physical activity per capita. We see the result in high, and steadily rising, obesity rates.
Several studies have linked higher hours of screen time with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and even shorter life expectancy. In children, screen time is correlated with insomnia, behavioral problems, and reduced academic performance, according to the Mayo Clinic.
To encourage people to break the screen-watching cycle, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood started Screen-Free Week. Celebrated from April 30 – May 6 this year, Screen-Free Week is geared toward getting children, families, schools, and communities to turn off their devices and use those hours for other activities.
There are dozens of ways to spend those screen-free hours and boost physical fitness. Here are a few local examples:
- Visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore or Bear Lake for a hike, bike ride, swim, or paddle
- Contact the Panhandle chapter of the Florida Trail Association for information about local trails and a schedule of their upcoming group hikes
- Meet up with the Panhandle Runners for their Thursday night run
- Take a walk on the beach
- Take a Zumba class at the Wellness & Fitness Center
- Sign up for a paddleboarding lesson at Walkin’ on Water Paddleboards
So turn off the television, shut down the computer, and go out and play.