Screen Time and Alzheimer’s

Screen Time and Alzheimer’s

When teen idol Chris Hemsworth played a computer hacker in Blackhat, moviegoers wondered how someone who spent his life sitting in front of a computer screen could look so over-the-top athletic. Want to know a secret? He can’t.

The average North American adult (70 percent are overweight) sits for 5 to 8.5 hours a day in front of a TV, computer, smartphone, gaming consul, tablet, etc. Clearly, there’s not a lot of time left for moving around! But screen-gazing (or grazing) is so integrated into every minute of the day you probably don’t realize how much time you spend sitting and staring.

Well here’s some big time incentive to get aware, get up and get going.

A study tracked 3,200 people for 25 years and found watching four or more hours of TV a day damages the brain early in middle age and increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later on. We bet all screens contribute.

So what’s your best brain-loving plan?

  • Set a reminder alarm so you walk around every 30-60 minutes.
  • Get a standing desk—or a treadmill desk like Dr. Mike’s.
  • Use a pedometer or smartphone to count your daily steps—you want 10,000, no excuses.
  • Get at least 30 extra minutes of extra physical activity five days a week (3 days cardio, 2 days resistance exercise).
  • Put down your phone; turn off the computer. Talk to your friends and family face-to-face. The study also found isolation (and, boy, does screen time fuel that) increases cognitive decline.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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