Public Health

Spending too much time in front of TV impairs muscle strength in elderly

Study was conducted over 18 months with 159 people in the city of São Caetano do Sul, São Paulo

Foto: Goodluz/Foto Stock
Seniors may lose muscle strength if left too much time watching TV
Seniors may lose muscle strength if left too much time watching TV

Seniors who spend much of their time watching television lose muscle strength. The affirmation is the result of research conducted by the Ministry of Health of São Paulo, in partnership with the Celafiscs (Center for Studies of Physical Fitness Laboratory of Sao Caetano do Sul).

Developed in São Caetano do Sul for 18 months, the study had the participation of 159 people (60 men and 99 women) with a mean age of 74 years.

For seven days, the elders used a pedometer (device to count steps), only removed while bathing and sleeping, and a questionnaire to investigate how much time they spent in front of the TV set.

During the week of evaluation, the average steps taken by the elderly was 9,957, while the average time watching television was 432.9 minutes, about seven hours a day. The comparison period in front of the power unit and the lower limbs resulting in impairment of muscle by 26%.

The results suggest that the fewer steps during the week and the longer the time in activities such as watching TV, the greater the negative impact on the health of the elderly, impairing their physical and functional capacity, warns Sandra Matsudo, general coordinator of the Senior Fit program.

The study also included physical fitness tests handgrip dynamometer (instrument which estimates muscle force) of the right hand, elbow flexion, agility while sitting and rising from a chair in 30 seconds, lifting the chair only once in the shortest time possible equilibrium with support in a single foot (one-leg) and flexibility.

The Senior Fit, maintained by Celafiscs, encourages physical activity for residents of long-stay institutions. The project has benefited from six organizations in São Caetano do Sul, with aerobic exercise, mobility, balance, stretching, cognitive stimulation and muscle strength, including bedridden and wheelchair.

It is an idealized dream to bring better health and quality of life for people living in long-stay institutions, concludes the coordinator.