September 11, 2017 | by The Polyclinic

Football season is back, which means you could potentially be spending time watching games four days a week. Add the snacks and beverages you may be consuming, and you might turn into the ultimate "coach sitter" for the next 5 – 6 months. Whether you enjoy sports, soap operas, reality television, or late night talk shows – we spend a lot of time with our eyes glued to our television sets. According to a Nielsen report, the average American adult watches nearly 35 hours of TV per week. That doesn’t add the additional time we spend on our tablets and smartphones. However, we can take advantage of the time we spend watching TV by incorporating exercises. Here are a few you can try while you watch your favorite programs:

During the Program

Wall Sits – A simple exercise that requires you and a wall at home. Try to hold your position for 60 seconds with a 30 second rest between each set (5 sets total). If you become fatigued holding the position, try to do it for 30-45 seconds per set. These a great way to build strength and endurance to your quadriceps, glutes and calves.

Single-Leg Hops – Another simple exercise to add leg stability and strength and it gets the heart rate going! Start on one foot and hop forward and backward. Try doing 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg. You can also try high-knees or lunges.

Cardio Machines with Television Sets – You can find cardio machines at most gyms. Examples include ellipticals, treadmills, and bicycle machines. Bring some water, go at your own pace and try to exercise for the entire program. The best part is you're burning calories for a long duration of time - building endurance. Watching TV can actually help you think less about the workout.

Commercial Breaks

If you are truly zoned in on the game or show, quick exercises during commercial breaks are a nice way to burn some calories in between your program. An average commercial break is 2 – 3 minutes long, so here are some ways you can kill time before the show is back on air.

Planks – Requires a stopwatch and a yoga mat or pad. Planks are a great all-around core strengthening exercise. Aim to hold between 30 - 60 seconds at a time, gradually increasing your holding time. You can also perform side planks to target the sides of your abs. Remember to keep your back straight during the exercise!

Pushups and sit-ups – You’ve probably done these before, but make pushups and sit-ups a fun contest for yourself or with friends. For example, if you’re watching the football game and your team scores or gets a turnover, reward yourself by doing a set of pushups and sit-ups during the break (ex. 10 pushups/25 sit-ups per touchdown or for every turnover). If it’s a 30 minute show, try doing 3 sets of 10 pushups every ten minutes or 3 sets of 25 sit-ups.

Mountain Climbers – Another great core workout! You start in a plank position and then drive one knee up into your chest. Do this as quickly as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. If you can jump both knees forward and back together, you’ll get an even more intense workout.

Try it out!

The examples listed above are just a few things you can try while watching TV, especially if you don’t have the time to go to the gym. You can always start with your favorite exercise and modify your workout to target specific muscles. The main idea is to get some physical activity while you watch your favorite show. Don’t be a couch slouch!

As with any exercise program, talk with your doctor before starting any workout regimen, especially if you are overweight or obese, inactive, or have chronic health conditions.