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Warning: Watching Football On TV Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

soccer-on-tv.jpgQuestion: Has your health improved since you started watching Premier League matches on TV?

Let’s be honest. With the abundance of football on television, especially Premier League matches, many people — myself and probably yourself included — find it difficult to resist the temptation of watching live Premiership on TV.

The problem is the sheer quantity of matches on the screen. In a typical weekend in the United States, if you have both Setanta Sports and Fox Soccer Channel, you can see seven live matches. If you end up watching each of them (some on DVR), that’s 14 hours of your life.

And remember that doesn’t even include mid-week matches, or other leagues such as La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Major League Soccer and Ligue Un, which are prevalent on TV each weekend.

While soccer is an incredible sport to follow, and a very addictive pastime, it also can be hazardous to our health, especially if we sit on our couches consuming the sheer number of games available to us.

I’m a perfect example of how hazardous soccer viewing can be. As some of you may know, I was hospitalized in late January and ended up coming home six weeks later after suffering from blood clots in both of my legs. While living a sedentary lifestyle wasn’t a direct result of my condition, it was definitely an indirect factor. After all, humans weren’t meant to sit for so long in the same positions.

Some of you may be familiar with a medical condition called DVT (an acronym for deep vein thrombosis). You often hear or read stories about people who travel on long plane journeys and die by the time they arrive at their destination due to blood clots forming. DVT’s sometimes form because passengers fail to get out of their seats to walk around.

Sitting for long hours was definitely a main contributor to my condition, which could have been fatal. For me, it wasn’t the only contributing factor. Unfortunate, I also have a blood condition that makes it more likely for me to form blood clots, but DVT can still happen to anyone, including you.

Of course, DVTs aren’t the only danger of sitting too long. The other is your overall health.

Be honest with yourself and consider whether you’ve gained weight and/or feel less healthy today compared with when you first began watching the Premier League on TV. If you’re like most of us, you’ve gained several pounds (and I’m not talking about the British currency).

Watching a good game of football can be a thrilling, enjoyable experience, but it also needs to be balanced with regular moderate exercise. No, I haven’t changed my name to Doctor Gaffer, but after this most recent experience in the hospital, it’s been a life-changing experience. Sure, I’ll continue to watch the EPL, but I’ll be more choosy with the games I’ll see.

From watching matches on TV to actually watching them in person, the British government’s Taylor Report has had one often neglected detrimental effect on the game in England. That’s the fact that fans, for the most part, now sit at matches instead of stand. While there were obvious dangers with terracing in England, at least fans were able to stand and move around a lot more freely as opposed to the plastic seating at football grounds these days. Something to think about.

Editor’s note: My health has improved considerably since leaving the hospital, and I should be at 100% within the next week or two. Thanks to everyone for your get-well wishes.

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  1. TheScout

    March 31, 2008 at 11:11 am

    And…nothing replaces to joy of actually playing. If people are getting up of the couch 2-3 times a week to play a rec-league or pickup games than vegging a bit on weekends won’t be so bad provided you’re not living on fast food 🙂

  2. TheScout

    March 31, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Interesting article Gaffer. I think you’re wise in becoming a little choosier with which matches you decide to watch. Sure, there’s always the chance you’ll miss a good game but such is life 🙂

    I try to limit the amount I watch for a variety of reasons but health is one of them. That being said, I watched the first half of the Liverpool – Everton game from the treadmill yesterday so that could be another option. I personally will be doing that more often. I actually felt a little more into the game as I was running along with the action.

  3. Ph0BoLuS

    March 31, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Why not watch a lot of games and exercise daily…I think that would balance it out…Glad to hear you’re getting better though.

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