Exercising while watching TV, instead of sitting on the couch staring at the tube, can have many health benefits.
The average person spends 2.8 hours per day watching TV, according to a 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Add it up and that’s almost 43 DAYS per year of sitting. Imagine the workouts you could get in if you spent even half this time exercising.
Couch potato side effects
Spending so much time being inactive isn’t good for the body. Obvious consequences are weight gain and decreased metabolism.
“Basically, the body deconditions,” said Dr. Andrea Peterson, a Marshfield Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. “Your body loses endurance and muscle so naturally your strength will decrease.”
Inactivity could also lead to more serious conditions, like blood clots in the legs, Peterson said.
Benefits of movement
Increased activity provides many benefits to the body, including:
- Building core strength helps decrease lower back pain and prevent flares.
- Stretching helps prevent muscle spasms and leg cramps.
- Aerobic activity decreases chances of heart diseases, like strokes or heart attacks.
How active should I be?
Peterson recommends one hour of physical activity per day.
“You may find it easier to approach it in smaller increments,” she said. “You do not have to do the entire hour at one time. Just get your heart rate above normal resting rate for 60 minutes total.”
Get active while watching TV
“It’s great to have access to treadmills or bikes, but many times this isn’t the case,” Peterson said. “And that’s okay. You don’t need big equipment to exercise.”
The following are simple stretches and exercises to do in front of the TV. Download and print this list for easy reference.