Don't be a couch potato – here are five easy exercises you can do in front of the TV.
TV has come a long way in the past few years, evolving from five channels with regular ads to an endless stream of choices – particularly if you have pay TV. Added extras like live pause and digital recording make it all too easy for even the busiest person to fit in some ad-free TV time.
This winter, instead of completely giving in to couch potato habits, try combining your favourite shows with a simple strength training workout, and TV pleasure will be anything but guilty.
1. Wall sit
Start by finding a wall with a good view of your TV. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Holding this position strengthens your core, quadriceps and glutes. If you’re not watching a recorded show, this is a great move to try during the ad breaks, as you can start by holding about 30 seconds and eventually work your way up to a full minute. Repeat this five times.
2. Side elbow plank
Start by lying on your side, either on the carpet or an exercise mat, with your legs straight and legs stacked comfortably on top of one another. Engage your core and oblique (side) abdominal muscles as you raise your hips and torso off the ground, supporting yourself on your right forearm. Your right elbow should be bent, and positioned directly under your shoulder. Only your elbow and your bottom foot should be in contact with the exercise mat. Although, if you can’t manage the exercise with both your legs off the ground then you can bend your lower leg at right angles and leave this rested on the ground, while your top leg stays off the ground. Hold this position for 15–30 seconds per side, with five repetitions each.
3. Couch tricep dips
If you have a coffee table in front of your couch, move it out a bit, so you have enough room in front of you. Sit on the very edge of your couch, with your hands placed on either side of your hips, fingers facing forward. Your legs should be bent, and your feet placed firmly on the ground, hip-width apart. Scoot your bottom off the edge of the couch, slowly bend your elbows backwards, and dip your upper body towards the ground until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms and return to the starting position. Do two sets of 5–10 dips.
4. Reverse lunges
Move a dining room chair in front of your television. Make sure you have about two metres of clear space behind you. Stand behind the chair and place your hands on the sides of the backrest at about hip level. Using the chair for balance only (do not pull back), take a large step backward with one leg and drop down into a lunge — your stride should be long enough for your front knee to be at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Hold for five seconds, then return to standing. Repeat your reverse lunges 10–15 times on each side.
5. Standing leg raises
Stand within view of your TV, with your hips facing forward and your feet a bit narrower than hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Lift your right knee so that your thigh is parallel with the ground, and your shin is perpendicular to the ground. Engage your core muscles, flex your foot, and push your right leg straight out in front of you. Hold for five seconds, then slowly return your raised foot to the ground, keeping your leg straight. Repeat 5–10 times on each side.
Note: this article is not a substitute for professional medical or fitness advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before introducing new physical activities into your daily routine.