This week, Australian researchers reported that watching an hour of TV after the age of 25 can shorten the viewer’s life by about 22 minutes. And for the past decade, multiple studies have been discovering direct correlations between hours of TV viewing and obesity. But I have to confess that despite these studies, I watch TV almost every day (and I’m particularly fond of any cooking shows or reality TV shows that involve talent competitions). So in this article, you’ll learn 3 exercise routines that you can do while watching television!.
Why Should I Exercise While Watching TV?
In the episode 7 Ways To Burn Calories By Standing More, we learned the perils of sitting – primarily a drop in metabolism, pressure on the low back, and a decrease in the activity of fat burning enzymes. It’s no wonder that people who sit and watch a lot of TV have weight problems!
While there are certainly times in life when you simply need the relaxing feeling of curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite movie, there are other times when there’s a TV show, movie, or sporting event that you really want to watch – despite your need to squeeze in an exercise session. Why not have the best of both worlds?
Here are 3 workout routines to get you fit while watching TV:
Most TV shows, especially typical sitcoms or dramas, have anywhere from 3 to 5 primary characters. Begin by choosing an exercise for each of those major characters. When you choose an exercise, remember to choose activities which you can do while facing the TV, since your TV workout will become annoying if you’re twisting, turning and missing the action onscreen.
Let’s choose an abdominal workout for this example. So Character 1 would represent a plank, Character 2 a side plank, Character 3 a bridge, Character 4 a bicycle crunch, and Character 5 an elastic band twist. Each time a character appears, you perform 10-15 repetitions of that exercise. It’s like a drinking game, but without the hangover!
You could easily do this with a leg workout as well. For example, use squats, reverse lunges, side lunges, forward lunges, and calf raises, and similar to the ab routine, every time a character associated with an exercise appears, you perform that exercise. During the commercials, you can perform cardio intervals, such as jumping jacks, step-ups, jogging in place, or an exercise that doesn’t require you to face the TV, like squat-thrust-jumps. Finally, use the opening and closing credits for stretching.
Of course, you could also simply do a cardio session during the TV show.
#2 Sporting Event Exercise Session
Sporting events, which usually include changes of possession, are quite conducive to cardiovascular exercise. For example, let’s say that Team A is competing against Team B. Set-up a treadmill, bicycle trainer, or elliptical in front of the TV and get ready for action.
Anytime Team A has the ball, the puck, or any other kind of possession, you do an intense interval, such as pedaling faster, increasing the treadmill speed, or increasing the elliptical strides per minute. Whenever Team B has possession, you decrease to an easy, aerobic, recovery pace. When the commercials appear, you can do a tempo effort, which is a moderate pace at a medium intensity. Alternatively, you could do intervals during the commercials, so that every time a commercial break begins, you increase the resistance or incline for the first commercial, decrease for the second commercial, increase for the third, and so on.
#3 Movie Exercise Session
Movie workouts tend to be longer, especially since it can be annoying to exercise during the first part of your movie, go shower, then come back and finish the movie.
So a good way to approach movie exercises is to think of them as a physically active game, and to associate specific exercises with objects in the movie. For example, let’s say you have a set of dumbbells and an action flick. If you see a police car, you would do 10 overhead presses; any type of weapon, like a gun, would be 10 shadow punches; any bombs or explosions would be 10 lunge jumps; any type of flying vehicle, like an airplane or helicopter, would be 10 bicep curls. Depending on how many “objects” you choose for your workout, this can be a challenging routine.
You can also simply do a cardio workout during a movie. Often, I’ll set up my indoor bicycle trainer during an action movie, and simply “go hard” during any intense action scenes, and then pedal aerobically when the action settles down.
There’s no rule that catching your favorite TV show, sporting event, or movie requires you to be completely sedentary for an hour or two. If you watch just 2 hours of television per week, and you do the workouts in this article during your TV viewing times, you can burn an extra 600-1,600 calories each week, which can add up to over 26 pounds of fat a year!