If your favorite excuse for not exercising is “not enough time,” then here’s some food for thought: The average American watches so much TV, it’s almost a full-time job.
According to a 2016 Nielsen report, we’re a society of couch potatoes who, on average, watch TV for more than five hours daily — or nearly 35 hours a week. In the workforce, that would qualify us for benefits.
Since Americans are also known for their mastery of multitasking, what if we were to combine our dedication to TV with self-improvement? Physical therapist Kim Earman, director of rehabilitative services at Grove City Medical Center, has the answer: TV Toners.
“Even though we put together this exercise routine and developed these exercises over a decade ago, they are relevant to today’s lifestyles,” Earman says. “In spite of the heightened awareness of the importance of physical activity, we now have the added distraction of lots more viewing options on TV, as well as computers, smaller screens and hand-held devices that keep us couch-bound.”
Among the positive effects of these simple exercises are:
• Increased strength and flexibility
• Maintained or increased bone mass
• Improved cardiopulmonary function
• Improved mobility and function
Although these exercises are fairly basic, Earman cautions anyone adding them to a sedentary lifestyle to consult their physician first.
Any time you are sitting or inactive for 30 minutes, try taking a break and performing a few of these exercises for at least 10 minutes. Then choose different exercises the next time.
For better circulation
Hand Warmer — Make fists with thumbs over fingers. Gently, yet firmly open and close fists 10 times.
Windmill — Inhale while sweeping arms up and out to the sides, raising rib cage and extending spine. Exhale while returning. Keep motion continuous. Do for 10 sweeps up and down.
Ankle Warmer — While seated, circle one foot clockwise and then counterclockwise 10 times in each direction. Repeat with other foot.
Point and Flex — While seated, extend one leg, point and flex foot 5 times in each direction. Repeat with other foot.
To maintain flexibility
Seated Stretch — While seated, face forward and relax shoulders, gently bend head forward and back without forcing it. Repeat 5 times.
Seated Stretch (neck/head) — Facing forward with shoulders relaxed, make a double chin and drop ear to one shoulder and return 5 times.
Seated Stretch (shoulder, arm) — Place fingertips on opposite shoulder and hold for 10 seconds, 5 times.
Active Neck Rotation — With head in a comfortable position and chin gently tucked in, rotate head to one side and hold for 10 seconds, 5 times.