Whether you just purchased your favorite complete TV series on blu-ray or it finally dropped on your preferred streaming app, the result is the same – it's time for a binge watch. Watching an entire season or series in a marathon session can be incredibly mentally satisfying. You don't have to worry about unresolved cliffhangers, and you get all the callbacks to earlier episodes because you haven't had time to forget the details from earlier seasons yet. However, as much fun as this can be, it's not necessarily the best thing for your body. If you've ever come away from a binge watching session feeling exhausted, achy, lethargic, and even sick, it's possible that you're not following the healthiest binge watching practices. Take a look at some tips to help you safely marathon through your favorite TV show.
Get Up Periodically
There has been a lot of research on the health effects of sitting all day at work, and the conclusions are clear – sitting all day is bad for you. In fact, the experts say that you should aim for standing for around four hours of an eight hour workday – even if it means taking regular short breaks to get up and go to the bathroom or get a drink of water.
What does that have to do with binge watching? While you may be feeling more relaxed at home on your couch in your pajamas than you are at your desk at work in the suit, the truth is that your body doesn't know the difference between sitting for eight hours at work and sitting for eight hours at home. Either way, it's not good for you. Luckily, there's no boss breathing down your neck at home, so you have complete freedom to remedy the situation.
A simple remedy is to simply pause the show once an episode and take a walk around the house. But you could also make it fun. Instead of a drinking game, create a movement game. For example, you could do five jumping jacks every time the main character utters their catchphrase, or jog in place for 30 seconds at every car chase.
Watch the Unhealthy Snacks
What would a TV marathon be without snacks? Sure, you want to have something tasty around to munch on, but it's not a great idea to sit around for hours eating pizza and chips. Stock up on snacks that are tasty and healthy ahead of time. That way you'll be satisfied without ending up bloated and gassy.
That doesn't mean you're stuck with carrot sticks and broccoli, either. If you're craving something sweet, some grapes and berries or frozen fruit yogurt can substitute for candy and ice cream. Do you prefer salty snacks? Air pop some popcorn and drizzle it with olive oil and little bit of flavored salt, and top it off with some low calorie parmesan cheese. Or give it a spicy kick by adding chili powder or wasabi. Craving something savory? Make sweet potato fries or snack on a spread of nuts, veggies, and hummus.
One more thing: don't surround yourself with enough snacks to last all night. Give yourself only enough to get through one episode. At least that way, you'll be forced to get up if you want more.
There are lots of good reasons to drink water while you binge watch. For one thing, there's a decent chance that you aren't getting enough of it anyway. Research shows that 7% of Americans drink no water at all during the day, and another 36% drink less than four cups. If you fall into one of these categories, then you can turn binge watching into a net gain for your health, just by adding water. And you might need it more than you know – you're less likely to feel thirsty when you're relaxing in front of the TV, but that doesn't mean that you don't need water.
Drinking lots of water will also send you running to the bathroom more often. That may sound annoying, but it's good for you – it's one more way for you to ensure that you'll get up and move around during your binge watching session.
When you're ready to turn the TV off for the night, make sure that you get plenty of sleep before the next time you have to leave the house. When you wake up, you should feel great – you had a satisfying marathon, you won't be stiff and sore from sitting motionless for hours, and you won't be bloated or dehydrated. You'll be glad you opted for a binge watching session that was safe and healthy for your body.