Bad news for workout enthusiasts who watch a lot of TV: Your gym exercise may not cancel out the blood clot risk of sitting a lot in front of the TV.
Now if you walk on a treadmill during most of your TV viewing, or otherwise are on your feet, then you need not worry about a heightened risk of developing a blood clot — also called a deep vein thrombosis.
However, most people, including those who engage in regular gym workouts, spend most of their TV viewing time sitting.
Study Shows this Again
A study led by Yasuhiko Kubota (Springer’s Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis, Feb 2018) says that excessive sitting increases the risk of blood clots whether you’re sedentary or exercise.
Prolonged sitting can lead to DVT via impairing normal circulation in the legs and feet.
Kubota, from the University of Minnesota, analyzed data from 15,189 Americans 45 to 64.
Beginning in 1987, participants were asked about their health, exercise habits, if they smoked or if they were overweight.
Type of exercise was not specified. It’s fair to wonder how many were bodybuilders, mountain climbers, martial artists and marathon runners vs. more recreational level exercisers.
Over many years the participants were followed, being asked if they’d received any hospital treatment.
Hospital records and imaging tests were analyzed. There were 691 DVT related incidents up to the year 2011.
Exercise Doesn’t Undo TV Sitting Time: Blood Clots Still Happen
• Participants who watched TV often had over 1.7 times the risk of a venous thromboembolism compared to participants who never or only occasionally watched TV.
• Body weight and exercise habits were adjusted for, yet this increase risk of DVT persisted.
This study, as well as similar analyses, begs the question:]
Is there an increased risk of DVT from excessive sitting in people who KILL it at the gym?
What exactly is exercise?
Having been a fitness professional and enthusiast for years, I am very well aware that when people are asked if they “exercise,” many will unknowingly inflate the answer.
For example people might consider it exercise to walk a tiny dog a few times around a block or do housework.
But what about DVT risk in people who, for instance, do CrossFit or regularly do high intensity interval training, grueling five mile hikes or train for powerlifting competitions?
Hopefully, studies that focus on strenuous exercise will be carried out in the near future.
Tips on Sitting Less While Enjoying TV
- Is there room for a treadmill so you can walk while watching TV?
- Take up yoga and do it while watching TV.
- Do shadow boxing or karate kicking.
- March in place, do kettlebell swings, planks, squats, ANYTHING to keep your butt off the cushion.
- You can also stand in pretty much one spot while watching TV. You don’t have to exercise during the program, but inserting some exercises will add value to your overall fitness regimen.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.