Straight, No Chaser: Quick Workouts for the Couch Potato
Warning: This post includes adorable animal exercise pictures.
Hey you! Yes, you: the ones about to enjoying the return of the NFL; the ones who have spent the last 3 months on the couch. Let’s turn your couch time into something (relatively) healthy. Now, if you’re reading this, you may be asking “How can anything about being a couch potato be healthy?” Actually it’s not, so if you’re committed to being a couch implant, good luck with that, and I’ll see you in the ER down the road. However, if you are simply spending time on the couch, and you may be interested in multitasking, this read’s for you.
I think I figured this out about 20 years ago. TV commercials are usually very annoying. In many instances, they are a waste of time and just beg you to do something else. Why not get in a workout? That’s right, in our ongoing effort to get you to move, we point your attention to the three minutes between the scenes of your favorite shows. Do something for your benefit (and I don’t mean go grab a beer and chips).
Here is a quick list of activities and exercises that you can do during commercial breaks. Mix and match these into a routine that suits your purposes. If it’s too much for you, consider turning off the TV and reading a book! Of course, be sure you’re healthy enough to engage in exercise before starting any regimen.
- Push ups: Drop and do 10 push ups or 10 sit ups for every commercial. Once you’ve done it, break until the commercial starts. Or…
- Jumping jacks: After your push ups, do jumping jacks until the start of the next commercial, then go back to the push ups.
- Stairs: Rush up and down a flight of stairs.
- Knee lifts: You don’t have stairs? Practice knee lifts during the commercials. Stand up and alternate bringing your right elbow down to meet your left knee and switch. Build up to doing this for the length of a commercial.
- Windmills: Extend your arms to the side and make circular motions from your shoulders. See if you can build up to doing this for an entire commercial.
- Punches: Place your arms in front of you and simulate using a punching bag.
- Couch/armchair stands: Sit on the edge of the couch or chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Fold your arms across your chest or leave them hanging at the side if you need to for balance. Stand while pressing into the floor with your feet, tensing your butt muscles as you rise. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight. Hold the position for a five count, then slowly lower yourself. Before you touch the couch, stand up again. Build your endurance with this; you should be able to go for a full commercial. These couch/armchair stands will help develop the buttocks and the front portion of your thighs.
- Chair dips: Start by sitting on the edge of your couch or chair. Place your hands on either side of you. Move your feet and slide out so that your butt is off the couch, and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Bend your elbows so they are pointing behind you. Lower yourself as far as comfortable. Hold the position for a three to five count (build up to five), then slowly press up again. Repeat as you can; build up your stamina. Try to do these for an entire commercial. Armchair dips are great for the backs of your arms.
- Leg-up Couch Crunches: Want a quick abdominal workout? While on your couch (or floor if the couch is too soft), lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your feet up on one end, and keep your hands behind your head. Pressing your lower back into the couch, slowly lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the couch. Hold for a three to five count (build up to five), then slowly lower. Repeat, building up to the length of a commercial.
- Don’t forget to work some stretching into your routine!
- And if your team doesn’t win, don’t be angry. Just meditate the disappointment away…
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how important it is for you to avoid to habitual consumption of empty calories that typically occurs during idle TV watching. Remember, your diet is actually about 75% of your issue. Stop poisoning yourself by what you eat!
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at
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