by Davy Kestens in Training Tips

Simple exercises to practice while watching TV

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We all know the term couch potato very well as it refers to someone who sits around watching too much TV and not getting any exercise.  Watching TV does not have to be a sedentary activity though and there are plenty of simple exercises for you to practice while watching TV.  Some will utilize simple tools, some will merely use your own body strength, so let’s have a look at all the options available to you.

As with any type of exercise, it is best to check with your physician before embarking on a course of activity and to be sure that you are not suffering from any dangerous health conditions that could be aggravated by exercise.  The best way to begin is by very simple and easy to do stretching exercises for warming up the muscles.  Any exercise that you follow should always be preceded by a warm up routine so that you do not run the risk of injuring yourself.  Most injuries are caused by inadequate warm up of the muscles before activity begins, so try these simple techniques while watching TV.

1. Chin and Neck Exercises

Most people do not focus as much attention on their posture as they should, but a simple exercise that can be done while sitting in front of the TV is to sit erect and to very gently lower your chin to your chest, stretching the back of the neck.  Again, do this gently, no sudden or snapping head movements; just a gentle stretch of the back of the neck should do it.  Hold it for a count of five.  Next, raise your chin towards the ceiling and hold the position for a count of five again before bringing your chin back to your normal position. Slowly, gently turn your head so that your chin is in alignment with your left shoulder. Keep the head horizontal. Hold for a count of five and then gently return to the central position before turning in the opposite direction, in line with your right shoulder. Repeat two or three times and then extend the stretch, trying to look over both shoulders.

It is imperative that you do not try to push yourself beyond limits that are comfortable for your body.  If you feel any pain, relax the stretch and do not force it.

Next, rotate your head in a circle, beginning with the chin dropping to your chest and slowly rotating in a clockwise position, all the way back and around.  Be gentle with the movement.

2. Shoulder Rotations

Next, we move on to shoulder rotations. This is an easy exercise to do while seated. Sitting erect, simply raise both shoulders as if in a shrug; and rotate them anti-clockwise – bringing them all the way around to the position you began in. Repeat this exercise four or five times and then reverse the movement. Next, you can alternate the roll, letting your left shoulder lead while the right shoulder follows. This is great for relaxing the muscles in the upper back. Gently push the chest out and relax it again. Repeat this motion four or five times, breathing independently of the movement.

3. Abdomen Exercises

The core muscles in the abdomen are responsible for supporting us as we stand and sit, yet few people take the time to strengthen these. A very simple and easy exercise to do while seated is to very simply draw the belly muscles inwards, towards the spine. Pretend you are trying to get your navel to touch your spine. Hold this for a count of five and then release and repeat.  As you progress with this simple exercise which you can easily do while watching TV, you may begin to isolate the upper and lower abdomen. This is easiest to do by first placing the palm of your hand on your upper abdomen, basically over the lower part of your ribcage. Tighten and repeat five times before changing the position of your hand to rest below the navel. Try to draw the muscles inwards, towards the spine. Repeat five times. As you progress you will be able to manipulate the muscles more easily and begin to hold the position for a count of five.

4. Posterior Exercises

One of the simple exercises to do – while watching TV – is to exercise the gluteous maximus muscle. Our bums are not just for sitting on, people!  The largest muscle in the human body rarely enjoys the exercise it needs to remain firm.  So, what can you do to tighten your posterior? Very simple. Clench both muscles and hold for a count of five and then release and repeat. Alternate this exercise between tightening first the left and then the right side muscle. Hold for a count of five and repeat.

5. Toes Exercises

Sitting barefoot on the couch you can very easily simply raise onto your toes. This causes a nice, gentle stretch in the calf muscle.  Hold for a count of five and repeat, moving on to alternate between left and right feet. To stretch the thigh muscle, raise the knee to the chest and gently hold for a count of five before repeating with the opposite leg. Remember, be gentle!

6. Wrist Exercises

A wonderful exercise to develop definition in your forearms is to very simply bend the wrist back and forth. This is not recommended if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Rotate the wrists gently in a clockwise motion. The biceps will benefit from a very gentle stretch that involves raising the elbow slightly to a 45 degree angle and then simply raising the wrist to the shoulder. Lower the wrist again to a horizontal position and repeat. You can do this exercise with both arms simultaneously or you can alternate. For a variation, turn the wrists with the thumbs pointing inwards or towards the ceiling as your hands are curled into gentle fists.

You may want to intensity this exercise by adding light weights or pick up a resistance band and holding it in both hands try to draw your hands apart.

You can then incorporate other simple exercises to practice while watching TV, such as walking on the spot, which always gets the blood flowing!  While walking on the spot, remember to incorporate your arms in gentle bicep curls, with or without weights, as you prefer.

Say goodbye to being a couch potato and hello to a fitter, firmer you!

Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to comment! We appreciate your response!

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