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TV Watching:
Not the Pastime of Choice for Seniors?


The Study

Compared to young people, a study by the University of California identified that from the perspective of seniors, TV watching was found to be a far less enjoyable. The study examined almost 4000 people in the United States aged 15 to 98 which found that those over the age of 65 watch almost 3 times more television than younger people in the hours while they’re awake.

The Findings

What is most interesting, is the fact that younger people considered TV watching to be a pleasant, enjoyable and relaxing pastime compared to their other activities, but older adults considered it to be less enjoyable, less relaxing and reported more feelings of sadness while watching.
Of all leisure activities in the study, TV watching was most common.  But, when compared with other activities including socializing and exercising, it was linked to lower life satisfaction among seniors. 
Researchers have indicated that television watching can play a role when it comes to low cardiovascular health, lower likelihood of engaging in more social and physical activities, low bone density, risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and lower life satisfaction.
According to the study, regardless of the fact that older people spent more time watching TV than younger people and associated this with less enjoyment, they still reported higher feelings of satisfaction in their lives.  Older people were found to spend more time in a positive mood than a negative one, when compared to the younger people in the study.

Alternative Senior-Suited Activities

As more senior-friendly activities pop up in cities across North America, perhaps seniors’ dependence on TV will decrease.  Seniors itching to get out of the house and be a part of something can find out about local community activities, research seniors’ organizations and groups in the area or sign up for lessons to learn computer, knitting, guitar or painting.
Instead of television, choose instead:
  • A daily walk around the block
  • Gardening in the summer
  • Building snowmen with the grandkids in winter
  • Reading a book
  • A game of scrabble with your spouse
  • Yoga or Pilates with a few friends in your home gym
Since TV clearly isn’t cutting it, try to find a pastime that you truly enjoy.  You may just find that you’re a happier person because of it.
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