You may have several favorite programs that you like to watch on television each week — from sitcoms to dramas to talk shows. Or you may only catch a special once in awhile.
Either way, most of us may benefit from watching less television and being more active. If you are spending several hours a day in front of the TV, consider limiting the amount. And if you do pick up the remote, look at it as an opportunity to squeeze extra movement into your day.
Remember: some physical activity is better than none. You can gain some health benefits for moving as little as 10 minutes a day, a few days a week.
And the payoffs can be enormous. Being active can help you control your weight and may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Physical activity can help you strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood and maybe even increase your chances of living longer.
Here are some tips from the American College of Sports Medicine and American Council on Exercise to help you get moving during your TV time:
- Put down the remote. Get up and change the channels.
- Walk up and down your stairs or hallway during the commercials.
- Get out the ironing board and catch up on this household chore.
- Watch a fitness channel instead of your usual program.
- Pop in an exercise DVD.
You can also use the time for exercises that target different parts of your body. Before you start, be sure to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at a low-to-moderate intensity.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- If you know how to use a resistance band, try using the band to do bicep curls. Make sure the tubing is not torn or worn out. Before you begin the exercise, make sure you have a good grip on the band to keep it from slipping.
- Try exercises that help to work your core (back and abdomen). An example is the bent-knee sit-ups.
- Improve muscular strength and endurance with bodyweight exercises like wall pushups or modified pushups.
- Work on your balance with exercises using stability balls.
- Include exercises for flexibility, an important part of fitness.
Start with a few repetitions of each, and work in more repetitions over time.
Every little bit helps. Health experts recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and at least two days of resistance training each week (with equipment like weights, dumbbells or rubber tubing). Aerobic activity raises your heart rate and ideally should be performed for at least 10 minutes at a time. Resistance activities boost your muscle strength.
How you exercise is entirely up to you. It helps to pick activities you like to do and which fit into your daily routine. You're more likely to stick with it. However, if you have health issues, be sure to pick activities that do not aggravate your condition.
Who knows? In a few months, you may even choose to skip your favorites shows a few nights a week, put on your walking shoes and head outside.
If you are physically inactive or you have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease or other symptoms, check with your doctor before starting or changing an exercise program. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe and suitable for you.
Created on 03/21/2013
Updated on 03/21/2013
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The benefits of physical activity.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adding physical activity to your life.