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Computers vs. TV: Which is less likely to promote dementia?

Image of a person in front of a TV.

Enlarge (credit: Dennis Fischer Photography)

Standing desks—and even biking desks—are a response to a growing body of studies showing that a sedentary lifestyle creates many health risks. Regular physical activity appears to confer a degree of protection from various problems, both physical and mental, and many results indicate that this doesn’t have to be Olympic-level training. Simply walking around the apartment a few times a day appears to help.

Now, a team of researchers has looked at the opposite question: Are all forms of inactivity equal? The answer is probably not. While the details depend on the health issues involved, there’s likely to be some good news for people reading this, in that computer use appears to be somewhat protective against dementia.

Get off your chair

The physical risks associated with inactivity are generally associated with lower cardiovascular health, either directly or via obesity. Even a small amount of physical activity appears capable of limiting these impacts, although increased exercise generally seems to be even better (details vary depending on the study and the exact risk being examined).

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