Spending hours in front of a TV or computer monitor — known as “screen time” — has been linked to signs that the heart needs longer to recover from exercise, an indication of poor heart health.
The new study, published online Jan. 17 in the journal Heart Asia, included more than 2,000 people — all in their 30s and from the United States — who didn’t have heart disease.
The participants performed eight-minute exercise treadmill tests, which allowed the researchers to determine how long it took for their heart rates to return to normal after brisk activity.
The hearts of people who spent more time in front of TV and computer screens tended to take longer to recover, even when researchers took other possible factors into account and tried to reduce their influence on the statistics.
The same thing happened in those who didn’t exercise much or at all, according to Dr. Jien-Jiun Chen, of the Cardiovascular Center at National Taiwan University Hospital Yun-Lin branch in Douliou, Taiwan, and colleagues.
Other research has linked more screen time to obesity, abnormal blood sugar metabolism and metabolic syndrome, which all are thought to boost the risk of heart disease, the study authors noted in a news release from the journal’s publisher. They added that in comparison to other sedentary behaviors, screen time expends even less energy than reading, writing or driving.