Top 10 exercises to torch calories in front of the TV

Don't be a couch potato - use the time during commercial breaks to fight flab

Don’t be a couch potato – use the time during commercial breaks to fight flab

Got a day where you’re glued to the tube? You’re not alone. American women spend, on average, more than five hours a day watching TV.

But you can use that time wisely by taking advantage of commercial breaks to fight flab. Try some of these calorie-blasting moves to work in a workout without having to stray too far from the couch:

  1. Sets of stairs – Channel those glory days and pretend you’re running bleachers at the stadium; race the kids, take steps two at a time, or even go backwards (but hold onto the rail!)
  2. Jog in place – Alternate “high knees” and “butt-kicks” (heels to your behind) and play with different patterns and speed intervals
  3. Jumping jacks – Traditional doesn’t have to be boring; start with 30 seconds in the standard stance, and then add in sets of “squat-jacks” (keep legs bent) for an added challenge
  4. Show off your chops – Unleash aggression by kicking, punching, jabbing and pummeling away with a series of martial arts-inspired moves
  5. Get hardcore – Pop a squat on the floor and alternate sets of these moves: Bicycle (cycle legs in the air), plank (push-up position on your elbows), superman (belly on the floor, arms and legs raised) and crunches
  6. Flex appeal – Grab the nearest weighted object (milk gallon, soup can, exercise band, small child) and alternate sets of bicep curls, chair dips, side/front shoulder raises and overhead shoulder presses
  7. Pump yourself up – You can’t go wrong with basic upper-body-building moves such as push-ups (alternate hand position), lawnmowers (add weight for more effect) and pull-ups (get a doorway bar or use the kids’ jungle gym!)
  8. Get down with it – Work your way to a better bottom half with calf raises (alternate where your toes point every set – out, forward and in), squats and lunges in place (ok, walking lunges to the fridge and back count, too)
  9. Dance-off – Challenge your friends to a competition where you see who can choreograph the best mid-commercial dance moves
  10. Stretch it out – Wrap up with this important, but oft-overlooked part of every regimen. Simple positions, held for 30-60 seconds each, help to ease sore, tense muscles and increase range of motion while enhancing circulation and coordination

6 ways to spring clean your workout routine


Spring is in the air, and there’s no better way to kick off a healthy start to the season than by getting some new gear, revamping your diet and freshening up that stale winter workout routine. Here are six tips to get you started.

  • Set your baseline. Only about 20 percent of Americans get an annual check-up, but it’s critical to keep tabs on things like blood pressure, cholesterol and vitamin deficiencies before diving into any new workout program.
  • Shake things up. The best way to bust out of a rut is to turn an old habit on its head; swap evening sweat sessions for early morning exercise, try playing with portioning instead of calorie counting, etc.
  • Clean out the fridge. Toss old, expired items, then keep a critical eye out for anything low in nutritional value (soda, processed meats, ice cream). And while you’re at it, raid the cupboards to rid yourself of unhealthy holiday leftovers.
  • Try a new workout. Now’s the perfect time to pick a new program that will really challenge your body and prevent plateauing. But keep it simple; if you subsist solely on cardio, add some weight training – or start a 60- or 90-day program, such as Les Mills Combat, for example.
  • Commit to a race. Adding a goal gives workouts a greater purpose than losing weight or fitting into skinny jeans. Research local road races, and start with a beginner-friendly 5K distance (see Cool Running’s Couch-to-5K program here for inspiration)
  • Get some new gear. Spring is also a great time to update your workout wardrobe. Replace worn-out items with shorts, tanks and tees in breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. And don’t overlook sports bras, which only have a life span of about six months.