Americans have been taking advantage of all the engaging and entertaining television shows out there, watching TV for more than four hours per day on average. And once we find a TV show that we like, we’re usually hooked. One survey found that more than half of adults under 45 years old watch all the episodes of a TV season on a streaming service all at one time.
One downside of us binge watching our favorite TV shows on our couch is that it tends to lead to lower physical activity levels. This is concerning since research has found that TV time is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. But what if there was a way to merge TV watching and exercise?
Well, it turns out there is a way to do just that. It’s called commercial break workouts. All you need to do is exercise during commercial breaks. This will allow you to get a workout in while watching your favorite show. And if you’re someone who streams episodes without commercials, pause the show at the end of each episode and do a few of these exercises. After you complete the quick workout, hit play and enjoy the next episode.
So, here are five easy exercises that you can do during commercial breaks that won’t ruin your TV watching experience.
5 Easy Exercises During Commercial Breaks
The best part about jumping jacks is that you can do this efficient total-body workout pretty much anywhere, including in front of your sofa during a commercial break. Since jumping jacks work your heart, lungs, and muscles all at the same time, this exercise is beneficial for pretty much everyone. Start by standing with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. Jump up and spread your feet beyond hip-width apart, while bringing your arms above your head (almost touching). Jump again, lowering your arms and bringing your legs together. Then return to your starting position.
If you’re watching a period piece, curtsy squats will have you fitting right in with the show’s main characters. To do a curtsy squat, stand with your legs hip distance apart. Then bring your right leg behind you into a curtsy position, getting as low down to the ground as you can go. Stand back up and do the same movement with your left leg. That’s one set. Complete as many curtsy squats as you can, while maintaining proper form, during a 30 second commercial break. This exercise will tone your glutes and legs when done consistently over time.
A plank is one of the easiest exercises that you can do, and it will help you build stability and strength throughout your entire body. To do this effective core exercise, get into a position similar to a push-up with your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width). Ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Remember to keep your head in line with your back, too. Then hold this standard plank position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can without compromising your form or breath.
Seated Knee Lifts
If you’re a couch potato who’d prefer not to stand while watching your favorite show, then seated knee lifts are the exercise for you. Simply sit at the edge of your couch with your arms crossed over your chest. Then in a slow, controlled movement, lift one knee as high as it can go and then alternate lifting your left and right knees. Try not to twist, tilt, shift, or bend your torso while you do this exercise that works your core, back, postural stabilizers, and hip flexors. See if you can make it through an entire 30 second commercial doing this exercise.
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
25% of adults sit for more than 8 hours per day. This can lead to hip pain or stiffness in your hips since your hips and legs are in the same posture for an extended period of time. To loosen up your hips, do the standing hip flexor stretch. Start in a standing position with one leg in front of you and your hands resting on your hips. The leg you are going to stretch will be positioned behind your body. While keeping your back straight and upright, squeeze your buttock muscles and slowly shift your weight forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip. Your hips and shoulders should face forward during this stretch. Try not to arch your back, as well.
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