January 10, 2011
Higher Cardiac Risk From Watching TV Or Computer

Couch potatoes and web surfers beware.

Spending too much leisure time in front of a TV or computer screen appears to dramatically increase the risk for heart disease and premature death from any cause, perhaps regardless of how much exercise one gets, according to a new study published in the January 18, 2011, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Data show that compared to people who spend less than two hours each day on screen-based entertainment like watching TV, using the computer or playing video games, those who devote more than four hours to these activities are more than twice as likely to have a major cardiac event that involves hospitalization, death or both.

Speaking as someone who spends hours every night surfing the web looking for post content: this is not good. We need a way to surf the web while walking around. Virtual reality goggles? But you still need a way to walk safely while surfing the web. How to solve this problem?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 January 10 09:57 PM  Aging Exercise Studies

PacRim Jim said at January 10, 2011 11:41 PM:

How about a Microsoft Kinect-type user interface for surfing the Web?
The only long-term solution is Homo sapiens 2.0, a complete redesign of the human body.
Don't hold your breath.

BioBob said at January 11, 2011 4:19 AM:

Blog less - cut more firewood = win win !!

Mercer said at January 11, 2011 4:26 PM:

Surf the web on a 7 or 10 inch tablet and walk. The writer Garry Wills reads books when he walks. He said it is common for priests to do this in some countries.

Matt said at January 11, 2011 6:49 PM:

Allocate 4 or so hours per week to working out, say at your local crossfit affiliate. Also focus on nutrition - google Paleo solution if you haven't already.

I'm not saying the above is the be all and end all, but it has helped a lot of people including myself.

Randall Parker said at January 11, 2011 7:00 PM:


Hey, I like the idea of reading and walking. I've been thinking about getting a Kindle DX. It is lighter than an iPad.

Also, a friend points out that a site called instapaper.com will convert web pages to the Kindle Mobi format. So you can load articles onto your Kindle and read then without a web connection.

I am thinking about holding out for the next rev of the Kindle DX. But maybe one of the forthcoming Android tablets will offer similar light weight. I suspect I'll end up with 2 different tablets due to different trade-offs for different uses.

BioBob said at January 11, 2011 8:42 PM:

I luv my plain old basic kindle. I see no need for the DX, but then I don't do the webpage thang. 1 million free books plus any for pay ones that I just must have keep me plenty bizzy.

There is absolutely no doubt that e-readers will do to books what mp3 players did to music. Think about it. I have over 100 books waiting to be read on my kindle with most of its room to spare.

Randall Parker said at January 11, 2011 9:41 PM:


I went thru my Amazon book wish list and found that about 80+% of them are not available electronically. Many publishers see no point in producing in a format that is so easily copied. So I think the hard copy format is going to be around for quite a while.

BioBob said at January 12, 2011 1:43 AM:


I don't doubt it. There are still vinyl phonograph recordings being sold, after all. However, most publishers are going the way of the newspapers whether they like it or not. Authors who have already created their public following are noticing that they earn 70% of the kindle ebook sales vs the 12-40% their publishers deign to pass along. Their will always be a niche for all things under the sun but just as mp3 now dominate music sales, ebooks will very soon dominate book sales.

Count on it.

A.H.A. said at January 12, 2011 2:34 AM:

Virtual Reality goggles maybe? There are a few on the market.

Nick G said at January 12, 2011 3:54 PM:

Randall, BioBob,

Aren't almost all new publications available on Kindle/Nook/iPad? If so, the conversion is just a matter of time.

BioBob said at January 13, 2011 1:13 AM:

@ Nick G -

actually, Randall is correct that it IS quite variable. Some books are, some are NOT - it's pretty much dependent on the wishes of the author, publisher, alignment of the sun moon and jupiter. hehe The fact remains that Amazon often ends up paying authors more than they would get from a publisher, even with the price differential between an ebook and hardcover. Economics will drive publishing houses closer to the margins.

Nick G said at January 13, 2011 9:55 AM:

I guess I was thinking of Amazon's claim that 107 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers are on Kindle; that Amazon now sells more Kindle ebooks than hardcovers; and that it expects its ebooks to outpace paperback sales in 2012.

"Industry critics note that the bulk of these sales are best sellers from a relatively small stable of authors."


embryonic said at January 14, 2011 2:31 AM:

Randall, One big assumption that you're making is that the walking benefits will outweigh possible strains from the various elements of a reading posture (wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, etc). That's unclear.

I used to try walking around listening to audio-books, but unfortunately there's nowhere nearby to walk that there's not on roads with traffic. You only realise how noisy cars, vans and motorcycles are when you try and get words to a volume that you can hear them over traffic noise. This is different from "familiar music" because your brain fills in the occasional bit that you don't actually hear, but missing 5 words in an audiobook can leave you lost about the following text (which character just came in.)

BioBob said at January 14, 2011 2:50 AM:

@ embryonic
time to move, my man - you live in a pit. My sympathy.

embryonic said at January 14, 2011 6:25 AM:

Actually I take it as more of a statement on the amount of excessive driving around going on, particularly the number of cars with only one occupant. Living just outside the city centre I can walk to and from work every day, often walking past traffic jams full of cars moving along slower than I am.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2011 12:06 PM:


Try noise cancellation headphones. Seriously.

I've tried a few brands of noise cancellation headphones on airplane trips. Creative's work pretty well. Cheaper brands (got some RCAs on sale for $20) not much worse. I've read that Bose has the best. But you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on Bose to get most of the benefit. Something for under $40 will work well.

The most unexpected result from noise cancellation headphones: You actually hear conversations on airplanes more clearly. This was a disappointment for me. I wanted to hear fewer distractions, not more. But the cancellation works for sounds that do not change rapidly. Voice is too varied. Not sure how well they'll work on road noise. I'd expect them to work less well than with constant airplane wind sound but still pretty helpful.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2011 1:11 PM:

BTW, I not saying the more expensive headphones are not worth it. If you work in an environment with constant background noise or fly a lot on airplanes then by all reports the Bose QC 15 headphones are great by many many reports. But if you are just exposed to background noise for short periods or can't afford expensive headphones then the cheaper ones will give you most of the benefit.

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