5 Ways to Make Binge Watching Less Terrible for You

3 minute read

It’s time for season three of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix, so we know where most of you will be this weekend. If you must get your OITNB dose in one mammoth session on your couch, here’s some advice on how to break it up so at least some of health harms from all that sitting—the perils of which cannot be overstated—don’t come back to haunt you.

Get up halfway through each episode.

The latest data shows that getting up every 30 minutes (whether you’re binge watching or at your desk at work) can keep your metabolism from flagging and your heart muscle from getting too relaxed. You don’t have to run a mile but getting up and walking upstairs or downstairs can get your circulation going.

Go easy on the snacks.

Just keep enough around you to keep you sated through the next half hour—because, per above, you’ll be getting up anyway. But don’t eat nonstop, either. Have episode-on, episode-off rules for eating.

Don’t eat just chips and pizza and beer.

If it’s impossible to avoid the binge-watching staples, at least mix in a few fruits and nuts—which just got another thumbs up from a health perspective, or these veggies that are even healthier than kale. That will keep your taste buds occupied too and you won’t get bored eating the same thing for hours. And in case you are so inclined to snack on fries, read this: Should I Eat French Fries?

Drink water.

Side benefit — it will make you want to go to the bathroom more often, and that will force you to get up (see above). Skip soda, juice and even seemingly healthy beverages like coconut water and just grab yours from the tap. You, like most American kids, probably aren’t drinking enough of the stuff anyway.

Do something physical for 1 minute whenever your favorite character comes on.

Think of it like a drinking game, but with exercise. Use each appearance of your favorite prisoner to do a minute of jumping jacks. Or squats. Or lunges. Anything, in other words, that gets you off your butt and moving. Recent research shows that micro-workouts as short as 1 minute make a big difference when you add it all up.

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