Whether you’re catching the latest season of Emily in Paris, Selling Sunset, Queer Eye, The Witcher, or something else, we all find it easier to be a couch potato than an exercise bunny. Sometimes when we are tired and unmotivated, we don’t feel like going to the gym for an hour or lacing up our trainers and emerge in the chilly air to force that 10k run we are training for, but doing some exercise would be better than sitting on the settee stuffing crisps in our face. Here are some simple exercises you can do (if you are able to), all while watching your favourite TV shows.
1 Jumping jacks
Jumping jacks seem very basic and easy to do – even if they are tiring – but this plyometric, total-body exercise has lots of benefits such as boosting your cardiovascular fitness and toning your muscles. Jumping jacks can increase your heart rate and improve endurance. Although calorie burn varies, MyFitnessPal estimates that jumping jacks burn around eight to sixteen calories per minute. That may not seem like much but it’s more than you’d burn doing nothing and if you keep doing them through a half-an-hour TV show, you could burn almost 250 calories, plus build muscle and keep your heart healthy.
Position yourself in front of the television and keep your head facing straight as you complete this exercise. Here’s a video on how to do them with the correct form.
2 Push-ups or planks
If your television program has advertisements, you can do one to ten push-ups during the commercials or hold planks in ten to sixty-second increments.
Push-ups can be done anywhere and they target multiple muscle groups at once. They strengthen your shoulders, chest, triceps, and core muscles – all with your own body weight. A strong core is key to many fitness moves and helps in daily functioning such as bending, twisting, flexion, and extension. A strong core can also protect your lower back from pain.
Here’s how to do a push-up with the correct form.
Planks are the first step in mastering the push-up, so if you cannot yet do a push-up, practice your plank and you’ll get there in no time. Planks may look simple but it’s a challenging exercise. Planks strengthen your core muscles, improve posture, reduce or remove back pain, boost your metabolism, and increase coordination and flexibility.
Here’s how to maintain the correct posture when planking.
Keep in mind that planking and push-ups should be done with the television paused as correct neck placement is important. It’s a good idea to do your push-ups during advertisements or take a break from the television every five to ten minutes to execute a few planks or push-ups.
Squats are an all-around excellent exercise that build up your lower body, targeting your glutes and quadriceps. If you want those enviable muscular thighs and that slim-thick booty, this is the exercise for you! Squats strengthen the core, the hip muscles, calves, hamstrings, and obliques too. Squats reduce knee and ankle injuries and strengthen tendons, bones, and ligaments in the legs. Finally, they create knee stability. They seem to do everything! But, unfortunately, they can’t make you a cup of coffee or remove the unwanted hair that you bought your 4X laser for two months ago, (which is something else you can do in front of the television)!
Since you can do these facing forward, you can squat until your heart’s content and still keep your eyes glued to the box.
Here’s how to perform a squat safely. Give it a go – you may get the backside you want in no time!
4 Jogging on the spot
Since you aren’t propelling yourself forward, running on the spot doesn’t have the same benefits of running but it’s still great for you; plus, you can do it when watching that TV show you don’t want to miss.
When running in place, you will contract your muscles and keep moving which improves muscle strength, stability, and flexibility. Running in place on a yoga mat or on carpet can reduce some of the impact and stress on your knees. Running needs a strong core and upper body, so it will help strengthen your body, increase balance, agility, and coordination and reduce knee pain.
The Journal of Physical Therapy Science noted that running in place engages the abdominal muscles and improves posture. Elevating your heart rate improves blood sugar, boosts cardiovascular function, enhances lung capacity, improves circulation, burns calories and fat, and can aid with weight loss.
Find out how to run in place and the variations of running in place here.
Harvard Health notes the importance of stretching. Stretching increases flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow. It improves posture and heals back pain. It’s also great for your mental health and stress relief. What’s not to love? So if you really cannot be bothered with (or are unable to do) the more active movements described above, you can do some simple seated stretches to help you unwind further as you unwind in front of your fave show.
Here are ten stretches you can do while watching TV.
You may not want to do these exercises if you’re watching the kind of show that needs you to pay attention to every detail, but you can always do something simple when watching television even if it’s star jumps or alternating between walking and jogging in place. If you spend most of your day sitting, like many of us do, it’s important to get even five to ten minutes of movement in each day!
You may have seen our blogs about tackling the winter blues and keeping your New Year’s resolutions. They give tips on how to stay motivated and how to reach our goals this year. Let us know on social media if you like to get a few moves in whilst watching the TV or if you prefer to get out and about to get your steps in.