by Dan Schindler and Ginger Wessel, Certified Personal Trainers
Sounds like an oxymoron. Actively watching TV is something most of us do not do. The majority of the time, we are not only sitting and watching TV; we are working on our laptops and scanning our iPhones or iPads. In doing so, a lot of us manage to stay in the same hunched posture not only at work, but at home as well. Another problem with inactive TV watching is that it often comes with unhealthy, mindless eating.
Now that all of our favorite fall TV shows are back and football season is in full swing, watching TV can become an especially common hobby and routine behavior. Well, it’s time for a change! You don’t have to stop watching TV, but if you have complete couch potato tendencies, it is a good idea to turn your tube-watching ways into healthier habits. To keep your TV watching in check, here are a few ideas to turn it into an active “sport.”
:: Break a sweat during commercial breaks. For example, during the first commercial, complete as many jumping jacks as you can until the commercial ends. Each commercial would bring a new exercise. You can also pace around the room, dance, do push-ups (modify on your knees if you need to), squats, bicycle/criss-cross abs, side leg raises, forward and side lunges, mountain climbers, side leg raises, or hold a plank.
:: Get involved in the game. For all of you diehard football fans, prove how loyal you are to your team by getting fit. For instance, each first down would require a set of 10-20 push-ups. Each touchdown could mean a set of 20 squat jumps. For those of you with knee issues, a basic squat suffices. You can make this a fun challenge if you are with friends who are fans of the opposing team.
:: Sit and get fit. While sitting, you can focus on upper-body conditioning, like side arm raises, front arm raises, torso twists and isometric holds with small weights. Such exercises will keep you active and allow the blood to circulate throughout your whole body. It will also raise your heart rate – the heart being a muscle that always needs conditioning.
:: Don't eat meals in front of the TV. While it's easy to veg out (especially on junk food) while in front of the TV, take a break from the screen when you're eating meals for healthier eating habits as well as relationships with your housemates.
One of the things many people skip at the gym is stretching and recovery for their body after a hard workout. We get to the gym, exercise for an hour, get home, shower, and then completely crash in front of the TV. For those of you who work out most days of the week – whether going for a run or strength training at the gym – TV time can be a great time for stretch out those hard-worked muscles.
The next time you sit down to watch "Chicago Fire," "Modern Family" or a sports game, remember that this can also be a time to become an active TV watcher. Besides that, it is also pretty hard to eat that bag of potato chips or M&Ms while you are doing push-ups!