Fitness for Couch Potatoes
Tune in and tone up with our TV-watching workout
Don't Touch That Dial
In fact, if you're not ready to risk losing track of the plot of that
fast-moving drama by doing a full-blown workout, you can fit in fitness breaks
during the commercials. This can be an especially good option for
Linda Buch, author of The Commercial Break Workout, points out that a
30-minute sitcom has about 10 minutes' worth of commercials. Instead of using
this time to reach for a handful of cookies or chips, get moving!
Among Buch's suggestions:
- Pushups. If floor pushups are too difficult for you, start off by standing
up with your hands on the wall, then pushing back. Do this 10 times; increase
the reps as the exercise gets easier.
- Chair squats. Stand up, sit down, then stand right back up (for even more
of a workout, don't sit down all the way). Do this for the length of one
commercial. As it gets easier, do it again for the next commercial.
- Marching in place. Move both your arms and legs; add jumping jacks to
increase the intensity.
"Little bits of exercise like these strung together add up to energy
expended," says Buch.
But don't stop there. You can do many types of strength training in front of
the television, says Pat Woellert, fitness instructor at University Fitness at
the University of Cincinnati.
Using resistance tubing or dumbbells (or even books, or cans of soup), do
upper-body exercises while seated on a chair. Some to try:
- Bicep curls
- Overhead shoulder presses
- Side arm raises
- Front arm raises
- Triceps extensions
Lying on the floor, do side-lying leg raises for the outer hip and inner
thigh, with or without weights. Sitting up on the floor, use resistance bands
to do seated rows (pretend you're rowing a boat).
To get the most out of your prime-time workout, do something different every
day, suggests Lynne Brick, BSN, president and owner of Brick Bodies and Lynne
Brick's Women's Health & Fitness in Baltimore. Fitness pros call this
cross-training. The rest of us just call it variety.
"Do the things you like to do," says Brick. Perhaps a stationary
bike on Monday, abdominal crunches on Tuesday, treadmill on Wednesday, jog in
place on Thursday, hand weights on Friday.