“Binge watching” is an awesome way to unwind and relax. However, binge viewing can take a bit of a toll on your body, so it’s best to be prepared. Balance your binge with these tips:
1. Pick a date, show, and good company. It’s easy to just fall into a TV binge: you’re tired after a long day of school or work and all of the sudden you’ve been on the couch for eight hours; you start your Saturday watching a movie in bed and before you know it the sun has gone down again. There are so many ways to accidentally waste a day watching, but being deliberate in your viewing will likely lead to you being deliberate in your actions to balance your viewing time with other, less couch-potato activities, so pick a specific day to do your bingeing, and bring good company. Plan to watch a new show with your best girls and make an event of it. Since not everyone is available every weekend to binge with you, this will likely also keep the amount of binge viewing you do in check.
2. Prep some healthy grub. Don’t get sucked into the junk food trap like you’re sucked into your TV show. Plan ahead. That’s not to say you have to curate some epic veggie and hummus platters or a super classy meat and cheese board, but consider having some air-popped popcorn, grapes, baby carrots or other healthy munchables on hand. You likely won’t be exercising today, so at least make relatively healthy food choices and you won’t feel too guilty about your decisions tomorrow!
3. Take breaks. I know it’s a binge and the purpose is to be lazy and indulge, but get up and move around every once in a while! Staring at a screen too long poses health risks, such as inability to sleep, and research has consistently shown that inactivity is bad for your health, but new evidence sheds an even scarier light on the situation. Some experts from the Mayo Clinic say that sitting for an eight hour work day (or Netflix marathon) is bad for your health- even if you get up and go to the gym afterwards. They found that what may be more important than regular exercise is simply breaking up your sedentary time. Bingeing on TV gives you a perfect monitor for getting up and moving at least once an hour. As soon as one episode ends, move around for five minutes before pressing play on the next. Want an even easier way to make sure you’re up, stretching out and moving (at least a little bit)? Hold a large water bottle the whole time you’re viewing. If it’s in your hand, you’re likely to drink it, and therefore likely to take frequent bathroom breaks! Refill every time you get up and you’ll stay hydrated as well as active and limber throughout the day.
4. Extend your binge (productively). So far we’ve touched on making sure your body is still healthy during and after bingeing, but what about your mind? I certainly don’t subscribe to the notion that TV rots your brain, but it may not be as stimulating as other activities. If you and your girlfriends binge watch a new show one weekend, consider having a book club the next weekend where you read the book the show was based on. You’ll be able to discuss the similarities and differences between the book and production, how you pictured the characters in your mind vs. who was cast in the role, and more. Or if you live in the city where a show is set, take a walk around and find some of your favorite familiar landmarks!
Binge watching is something we all indulge in and enjoy, but try your best to make sure you balance your binge- your body and mind will thank you someday!