I heard on the radio the other day that for every hour we watch TV, after age 25, we shorten our lives by 22 minutes. My reaction was immediate: Ridiculous, I thought.
So I convinced myself that I had misheard the radio broadcast and looked up the subject on Google. There it was – information about the study and, sure enough, 22 minutes for every hour! I quickly calculated my own penalty to be about three years! I asked myself sarcastically, what if: What if I was eating a cheeseburgers every day or smoking? Wouldn’t those things shorten my life too? I watched the Patriots on Sunday, but I rode my exercycle for an hour of it. Do I gain or lose life expectancy?
TV is an escape for me. It reduces stress. Doesn’t stress reduction decrease our chances of a heart attack? I guess I have to face the fact that a sedentary life style isn’t good for me or anyone else. But what about reading? Is that bad too? I usually read in bed, so does that count as sedentary or does it count as bedtime?
It quickly become obvious that asking these questions is just avoiding the real issue: good eating habits, exercise and stress reduction are all good for all of us and, with luck, will help us live longer and healthier lives.
HAC has an answer for its staff: a health and wellness program that was started in August by two staff members who met in HAC’s kitchen while cooking Weight Watchers lunches. About 20 people have signed up. Most of what is offered is free. The group meets weekly to plan or participate in activities, including diet and exercise workshops, health screening, lunchtime yoga, a walking group and even a trainer-led fitness class after work. The trainer’s classes meet four times per month, each at a different location: in HAC’s Conference Room A, at the beach, at the high school track and at a gym.
So far the feedback from the nutrition workshop and fitness class has been very positive.
There is also a monthly health and wellness newsletter, which is e-mailed to all staff. I’m starting slowly by reading the newsletter in bed. I’m feeling younger already!