MAKE BINGE-WATCHING BETTER FOR YOU
If Netflix is your guilty pleasure, fret not – TV and exercise can be excellent partners. Here’s how you can sneak in a micro-workout during your next TV marathon
Netflix just added new seasons of Black Mirror and Stranger Things, meaning fans will likely be sitting (and eating) in front of a TV or computer screen – which, for obvious health reasons, is less than ideal.
“I’ll just watch one episode,” you say to yourself. But before you realise it, hours have passed and you’re still sitting on your couch way past midnight, so engrossed in your show that you’ve barely remembered to take any toilet breaks.
Streaming entertainment has been designed to draw you in, with each episode auto-playing and blending seamlessly from one to the next. Binge watching doses the brain with pleasurable chemicals and it gets hard to pull yourself away because it feels good.
We all have little guilty pleasures, and let’s face it, who hasn’t indulged in the occasional binge watch on the couch? But a Netflix marathon doesn’t have to be just about pizza and potato chips – if you’re going to do it, you might as well use the opportunity to work on your health and fitness. Simply combine your love for couch telly with some simple tweaks!
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Skip the sugary sodas, juices, and trendy but calorific beverages for plain water. If you’re craving for some fizz, soda water is a great thirst-quenching option.
TRY: Fruit-infused soda
Add flavour and zing naturally to your soda water with a few slices of strawberries or lemons, and some mint leaves. How refreshing!
STAND UP BETWEEN EPISODES
Research suggests that getting up every 30 minutes (whether you’re binge watching or working at your desk in the office), keeps your metabolism from flagging, and your heart muscle from getting too relaxed.
TRY: Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Get off the couch every half an hour and give your body a good stretch by going into the Eagle Pose or Garudasana, which is named after the mythical Garuda. This twisting yoga posture improves balance, strengthens the inner thighs and ankles, and stretches your calves and upper back.
– To get into the pose, stand in Tadasana and firmly ground your right foot on the floor. Tuck your left ankle behind the right calf, and stretch your arms out straight in front of you.
– Next, bend your elbows, keep the forearms perpendicular to the floor and drop your left arm under the right. Now intertwine your hands so that your palms touch each other and your fingers point upwards.
– As you maintain balance, try to lengthen the spine and rise through the crown of your head.
– Keep your shoulders relaxed while you gaze at a fixed point in front of you (you can even do this while watching the telly and you’ll never have to worry about missing the on-going plot)!
– Stay in Garudasana for 30 seconds while breathing steadily. Release the posture and return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
SNEAK IN A MICRO WORKOUT
Think of it like a drinking game, but with exercise. Use each appearance of your favourite character to do a minute of jumping jacks, squats, or lunges, anything that gets your heart racing. And while you’re at it, why not tone up your triceps – no equipment needed, all you need is your couch!
TRY: Tricep dips
Dips are a great compound bodyweight exercise which focus heavily on your triceps, while also building strength in your chest and shoulders.
– Sit on the edge of the couch, then lift your toes so that you are balancing on your heels.
– With your fingertips pointed forward, position your hands on both sides of your body. Now lift your entire body off the seat of the couch.
– Lower your body for two counts until your bottom just touches the floor, then raise your body back up to a full arm extension.
– Work your way up from 12 to 20 per set. The key is not to sit back down on the couch until each set is complete.