Written by MindMate Staff
Striking the balance between staying active and enjoying leisure time can be difficult to strike at times. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered going through the motions of getting to the gym or an exercise class. If you’re stuck between exercising or being a couch potato, combine the two! Here are the top 10 exercises to do in front of the TV.
Like squats, they work wonders for the legs and glutes. A correct lunge requires keep your upper body straight, chin up, and core engaged. Step forward with one leg, and bend your body down until the leg is front of you is curled at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your weight in your heels, push back up to the starting position. Adjustments can be made for those with conditions affecting the joints, such as arthritis.
2. Jumping Jacks
The stalwarts of aerobic exercise, jumping jacks can be done anywhere, at any time. Try doing as many as you can during each commercial break and you’ll be amping up your heart rate and burning calories, but take care if you live in an apartment with neighbours below!
Sit-ups can be be done easily on a yoga mat right in front of your TV. Doing 25 reps twice during your favorite show’s commercial breaks is a good guideline for maximum calorie burn. Remember to reach your head up toward the ceiling!
4. Chair Dips
All you need is a sturdy chair and you’re ready for a arm-toning workout. Chair dips begin by sitting on the edge of the chair with hands secured next to your hips. Slide your butt off the edge and begin to bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle. Slowly push back up and repeat 10-12 times.
Perhaps the simplest of these exercises, planks can be deceptive as, despite appearances, a lot of work is being done for your body when you’re doing them. To do an effective plank, push your body up into an upward push up position. Then, with your toes curled under behind you and your hands flat and directly under your shoulders, hold it for 30 seconds then release your body back to the ground.
6. Plank Twists
While you’re down on the ground, go for another version of the plank — the plank twist. For this exercise, start with your body in the upward pushup position, as you did with the traditional plank. Drop to your elbows and turn your body all the way to the right, swinging your right arm into the air, and leaving the left arm bent behind you. Hold for 45 seconds and then switch the left side and do the same. Pause between each set, repeating three times on each side.
7. Body-Weight Squats
You don’t need weights for beneficial squats! They are also really effective if we do them with simply our body weight. Stand straight with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and put your arms out straight in front of you, parallel to the floor. Sink down and push your hips back while bending your knees. Pause at the bottom and then bring yourself steadily back up. Then, do 15 to 20 additional reps, or until failure.
8. Hip Raises
Hip raises are another very simply exercise that comes with great results, particularly for your core. If you have a yoga mat, bring it out and lie down flat on your back with your arms extended straight out to side beside you. Bring your knees up, placing your feet flat on the ground. Keep your core tight and squeeze your glutes while you raise your hips to form a straight line between your shoulders and your knees. Pause for five seconds and then lower you hips back down. Repeat 10 times.
If you have a sturdy platform nearby — something that will hold your body weight — use this. Steps-ups just require that sturdy surface and your body weight. Begin by placing your right foot on the platform (or stair), then step up with your left leg. Keep your right foot where it is, and put your left back down about 12 inches behind you. Bring the left foot back up again, and repeat 12 times. Then, try the same with your right foot, bringing it up and down. For best results, keep your chest lifted. If this feels too simple, and if you feel like a challenge, try holding some 5lb/2kg weights throughout.
10. Floor Swan Dive
If you’re familiar with yoga, you’ve likely done this move before and are aware that it can be really great for strengthening your back muscles and improving your posture, To do the swan dive, begin by laying face down on your yoga mat with arms stretched out over your head in front of your and toes pointed behind you. At the same time, lift your arms and legs about 6 inches off the ground and hold for a moment and then circle your arms out around you and back towards your toes with your palms facing your body. Hold for a moment again before bringing your arms back to the starting position. Then, release your body back to the floor. Repeat 6 to 8 times.