If you feel the need to respond to research from the University of Queensland, which found that for every hour you watch TV you may shorten your life by as much 22 minutes, here are 10 ways to get fit without having to ditch your TV schedule entirely.
Make the most of commercial breaks
Commercial breaks may only last a few minutes, but if you spend an hour or so watching TV each night, this time can really add up. Make the most of this often wasted time by getting up and active for each commercial break. Jog on the spot, have a quick run up and down the stairs or even squeeze in a quick burst of housework to give your fitness levels a boost.
Do some circuit training
Circuit training is effective for giving different body parts a workout. For TV-friendly circuit training, try swapping to a different form of exercise at the end of each TV scene or conversation. You could change from weight lifting or doing lunges to using a skipping rope or doing jumping jacks; just get your gear together before the show starts so you can switch quickly from one exercise to the next.
Squats and lunges
Squats and lunges are perfect exercises for performing in front of the TV as they will help to strengthen your core and tone your lower body and can be done without disrupting your viewing. Done correctly, these challenging exercises work several muscle groups at the same time, including bum and thigh muscles, and they can also improve your balance.
Hula hooping is a repetitive exercise that requires little concentration, so is perfect for doing while catching up on your favourite show. While the exercise is a fairly simple one to do, it also has great body benefits. Hula hooping with a weighted hoop can burn off as many as 100 calories for every 10 minutes and can help to tone the waist and create more sculpted abs.
Yoga is the ultimate take-anywhere exercise that can be performed just as well in front of your TV set as at your local gym. Yoga is perfect for developing body strength, flexibility and balance. While you may not get the same emotional and stress-reducing benefits as you would when focusing solely on the exercises, practicing yoga poses is a great way to stay active while watching TV.
Invest in some home gym equipment
Most forms of exercise equipment found in the gym can also be used at home. If you’re thinking of splashing the cash, try investing in an exercise bike, treadmill or rowing machine, which can all be used in front of the TV. These are perfect cardio workouts for when you don’t feel like venturing outside, to help you burn off the calories while watching TV.
Lifting weights can bring a whole host of health and fitness benefits including maintaining strength, helping weight management, reducing injury risk and helping you to tone up. Furthermore, weight lifting can be done just about anywhere, including in front of your TV. Try to include two separate resistance sessions every week in your routine, spaced 48 to 72 hours apart to allow time for recovery and adaptation.
If you’re not in the mood for a workout, you can still burn calories just by fidgeting! Research suggests that fidgeting can burn up to 350 extra calories a day. To help increase your calorie burn, try to increase incidental exercise while watching TV, such as getting up to change the channel rather than using the remote control. You could even do another activity while watching TV such as knitting, sewing or even typing on your laptop to boost your calorie burn.
To burn extra calories while watching TV, try swapping the sofa for a stability ball. Sitting on a stability ball will cause your body to work harder to balance itself and will cause you to readjust your position more often, which will keep your body moving. Sitting on a stability ball will also engage the core abdominal muscles and can improve lower back pain and balance.
Keep your TV snacks healthy
As well as staying active while watching TV, it is important to watch what you eat. Many of us eat out of habit while watching TV. Also, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, eating when distracted can cause you to ignore signals that you’ve had enough. Try to keep yourself occupied with another activity while watching TV to avoid the temptation to snack, or opt for healthy snacks such as popcorn, fresh fruit or hummus and vegetable crudités.