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Go-Go Grandma and The Killer TV

Go-Go Grandma and The Killer TV

A recent study in Spain followed 13,200 college graduates - all approximately 37 years old at the start. Over the next 8 years, 97 of the study subjects died.

Statistically, those who watched 3 or more hours of television per day were twice as likely to be among that number, versus those who watched only 1 hour or less.

Researchers determined that time "sitting", i.e. driving, using a computer, or other similar sit-down activities (including TV) also correllated with the higher mortality rate - although specific breakdowns by activity are not available.

Other factors were taken into account. Smoking, gender, daily calorie intake, snacking habits, and physical activity levels were all considered as potential causes, but sitting and TV watching remained statistically relevant.

What does this mean? Is my TV trying to kill me?

If you're naturally prone to wearing a tin hat when you leave the house, that's your business. But it must be pointed out that the study findings are just that - study findings. This was a real life experiment on a very small portion of the real life population. Many, many factors can be involved in the deaths of 1 out of 130 people, statistically, beyond what was tracked.

It's probably safe to assume that your TV is not, in fact, actively trying to kill you. The story does raise some important points however, worth considering:

Being inactive, actively hurts you.

Physical activity such as regular exercise is obviously important for optimal health - but being physically inactive also has the reverse effect. Studies have shown that physical inactivity contributes to an increased chance of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), increased risk of heart disease, increased likelihood of osteoporosis, increased risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and gallstone formation, and double the chances of becoming obese. Being sedentary has even been tied to increased likelihood of depression and anxiety.

Time is life. Spend it wisely.

If you were 37, and knew that before your 45th birthday you would die... Would you want to spend the next 8 years watching an average of 3 hours television per day? What better things might you find to do with those 3 hours? What priorities might you set for your remaining time? What kind of life would you want to live? It's a pretty good bet that your description wouldn't include, "I want to spend a significant portion of my waking hours vegged out in front of a TV or computer screen."

What you don't use, you lose.

If you're in your 30's or higher, you no doubt have finally come to realize that your body is NOT going to just magically retain the vigor, strength and agility of your youth. There's a reason grown ups were always slower. Now that you're one of them, you're starting to get it.

But this effect is dramatically influenced by your habits, and what you spend your time doing. If you need proof, there's plenty to choose from, just a Google search away.

Names like Eileen "Phil" Raschker, Willie Gault and Arnold Schwarzenegger may come to mind, but one in particular stands out - she was in the news only a day ago...

Olga Kotelko - Canadian, Track Star, World Record Setter

Olga was born the 7th of 11 children in 1919, to Ukrainian immigrants Wasyl Shawaga and Anna Bayda. Her first noteworthy activity was falling off a sleigh on the way to her own baptism - and being left behind in the snow while the family continued on for a good mile before discovering her absence.

Olga was raised on a farm, and took part in a variety of activities throughout her youth, including softball. She became an elementary school teacher, married, had two daughters, and eventually became a single parent. At 65, and being forced to retire but unwilling to settle down, Olga joined a slow-pitch softball team, a hiking club and a bowling league. Later she went on to enter Track and Field.

Olga Kotelko died on Tuesday, June 24th, of 2014 at the age of 95. The last survivor of her siblings, she had won hundreds of medals in events like high jump, javelin, 200-metre sprints and more. She set over 23 world records.

McGill University physiologist Russ Hepple stated, "She functions more like a very healthy 70-year-old than a 93-year-old," two years ago when she submitted to be examined for scientific purposes. It was found that her muscle tissue deterioration was substantially slower than expected for her age.

"I still have the energy I had at 50," she told the New York Times.

If you still need a reason to get up and start being more physically active on a daily basis... Then I don't know what to tell you.

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