Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shining a light on.

I am not a fan of soap operas but Gail loves them. Last night I was sat on the sofa next to Gail reading a book. At the end of each paragraph I would glance up at the television, take in the scene and return to my book. Gail enjoyed her trio of soap operas, Emmerdale, EastEnders and Coronation Street. What amazed me was the lighting used on all the soap operas. Each programme was filmed with bright stage lights shining onto the talking actors. There is a place for strong spotlights in entertainment, that is the theatre. Bright lighting onto a stage performance is appropriate and brings out the best in the actors. Television soap operas are supposed to reflect ordinary life. In real life when you have a conversation with someone, you do not shine a search light on them.

At the end of each paragraph I continued to glance up and this stage lighting started to annoy me. This lighting brought these programmes further away from reality. All I seemed to do was to look for the unnatural shadows. All three soap operas did it and none was worse than the other two.

I challenged Gail about this bad filming and she claimed not to have noticed. Gail reckons that the dialogue is so absorbing that she did not notice the bright lights! As I type this blog post now, EastEnders is on again. The sound is a distraction and it amazes me that the dialogue is question orientated. Actor one asks actor two a question. Actor two replies not with an answer but with another question! This constant question, question, question is dreadful! Normal people do not talk like that, surely? Still, Gail loves her soap operas and that is better than her droning on the telephone whilst I am on the computer.

But did you know that too much television can shorten your life? Watching too much television could shorten your life, a study suggests. Research carried out in Australia, and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that every hour of TV watched after the age of 25 may shorten lifespan by 22 minutes. According to one of the report's authors, Dr Lennert Veerman, from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, it puts long hours spent in front of the box "in the same ballpark as smoking and obesity". "While smoking rates are declining, watching TV is not, which has implications at a population level," he said.

Last year, another Australian study found an hour of TV a day led to an 8% increase in the risk of premature death.

The report also showed that a person who watches an average of six hours of TV a day would live on average 4.8 years less than someone who watches none.

Which is rather sad as Gail is obese and does watch rather a lot of television.

Hi Steve

Not sure I see the reason why the researchers have decided that watching TV would have a specific reason for reducing your life span.

I'm assuming that they have drawn a corrulation between a sedantary life style and health but why have they picked on TV? Other activities are equally inactive such as doing crosswords, playing chess, studying astrophysics and your favourite; reading books. would the researchers claim that these activities also shorten your life.

You might argue that watching "some" TV doesn't require any brain activity whilst playing chess does and that keeping your mind active is important. But I'm not that brave and certainly recommend you don't suggest that to Gail since that will dramatically reduce your life span.

Just to add another complication to the research, often I watch TV whilst training with weights or exercising on a step machine. Am I reducing or increasing my life span or just treading water.

John (didn't forget name this time)
And watching a video whilst doing hand exercises, that guards against prostrate cancer I once read!
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