Exercises To Do While Watching TV
We know you’re busy, and even though we all know the benefits of exercise—from reduced stress to stronger muscles and bones—that still isn’t enough sometimes. After getting home from a long day, preparing food, and running errands, working out just doesn’t fit into the schedule when you want to catch up on your favorite show before it’s time for bed. But…who said it had to be one or the other?
Whether you’re a busy parent, stressed from work or just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day, here are 5 ways you can get in some healthy movement while enjoying your TV time!
1. Relieve stress. Stress is often the result of being hunched over a computer or other devices most of the day. Opening the front of the body will counteract your forward-bending motion and tendency to curl in your shoulders and upper back. Try these to reduce stress and calm the mind:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back and squeeze shoulder blades together. Hold for 20 seconds. Breathe deeply. Repeat 5 times.
- Stand with your feet wide and your toes pointing in. Clasp your hands behind your back and fold forward, bending at the waist. Let your arms fall towards the floor. Hold for 20 seconds. This move will open the shoulders, bring oxygen to your brain, and stretch your hamstrings and lower back.
- Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides. Circle your arms up to reach for the ceiling, then bend your arms 90 degrees into a goal post position and lean back gently to open up into a slight backbend. Repeat 2 times.
2. Strengthen your abs. Core strength will help you keep your back healthy and increase your balance.
- Bicycle crunch. Lying on the floor, bring your legs to a 90-degree angle with your knees directly over your hips. Support your neck with your hands. Lift your shoulders off the floor and slowly bring your elbow to your knee. Alternate sides. Start with 10 reps each and work your way up to 50 bicycle crunches.
- Leg lifts. Support your lower back by tucking your hands under your hips. Start with your legs straight up in the air, pressing your lower back into the floor. Slowly lower your legs until you can’t keep your lower back connected to the floor. Bring legs slowly back up to starting position. Repeat 5 times.
- Planks. Get in a plank position: hands shoulder-width apart and feet hips-width apart, hips in line with shoulders. Squeeze your legs and glutes, keeping your body stiff like a surfboard. Push away from the floor as you pull your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 30 seconds and work your way up to a minute. Repeat 3 times.
3. Soothe a sore lower back.
- Cat/Cow stretch. Start on the floor on your hands and knees. As you inhale, pull back up to ceiling while tucking your glutes under and tucking your chin into chest. As you exhale, push your belly towards the floor and look up. Repeat 10 times.
- Spinal prep. Lying on the floor, bend your knees and press your lower back into the floor. As you exhale, let your spine return to normal. Repeat this 10 times.
- Spinal twist. Lying on the floor, bend your knees to a 90-degree angle with your knees positioned right over hips. Spread your arms out to the side. Let your knees go from side to side using your oblique muscles without letting your knees touch the floor.
4. Strengthen your back.
- Superheroes. Lying on your belly, reach your arms out in a V shape and bring your legs together, pressing the tops of your feet into the floor. Bring your upper and lower body up off the floor, bringing your arms back to a goal post position and returning your arms to a V position. Repeat 5 times.
- Cobra pose. Lying on your belly, bring feet and legs together and press your feet into the floor. Press your hands into the floor on either side of your chest. Using your lower back, lift your upper body off the floor while keeping your feet pressed into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 2 times.
5. Use that extra energy.
- Make it fun! Choose a word or a phrase for the show you are watching. Every time you hear the word or phrase, do 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups. Choose a common word or the main character’s name.
- Watching football? For every touchdown, do 10 squats. For every field goal, do 10 burpees.
- Watching network TV? During the first commercial perform squats: use the chair or couch you are sitting in so you barely touch your bottom to the seat and burst back up. Repeat until the commercial is over. During the next commercial do lunges, then triceps dips from your chair, then hold a plank.
Whatever you decide to do, make it fun. And remember, exercise is cumulative. Even 5-10 minutes of movement several times per day is beneficial! For extra fun, get the whole family involved—let the kids pick out which exercises to do. Small changes make a big difference in your health!