Among certain friends of mine, admitting to watching TV is like confessing you enjoy kicking puppies in your spare time. "I don't even own a television" is the identifying call of the smug intellectual, for sure.
Well, la dee freakin' dah to them, because guess what? New data from the American Time Use Survey shows that 80 percent of people watch TV daily. Now, this didn't say how much TV, or if the people in question only own it to watch DVDs and PBS, but the fact is a lot of us are more couch potato-y than we claim to be.
Even more sadly, only 5 percent of people claim some sort of vigorous exercise daily. Given how often we hear that exercise is the cure-all for all kinds of maladies, this is disappointing to hear. But what if you could combine your beloved TV watching with your exercise time?
Here are three ways to make that happen and burn a relatively painless 300 calories or so in the process (figures based on this nifty little calculator at WebMD).
1. Move your equipment
The simplest way to torch some calories? Put your treadmill near the TV and run while you watch Glee (or whatever show is your guilty pleasure). An average 150-pound person will burn 300 calories in 33 minutes, running at a 12-minute per mile (or 5 miles per hour) pace. Hate running? Dance along with Dancing With the Stars for an hour. If you go to the gym instead, you can probably get someone to switch one of the TVs to the shows you like if you ask nicely, and most gyms have radio frequencies set so you can hear the audio.
2. Kick your crunches into high gear
You've probably heard the advice to do sit-ups and push-ups during commercial breaks. Good advice, but you need to do it for an hour and 15 minutes to burn 300 calories. Assuming 10 minutes of commercials for one hour of TV, that would be a marathon TV session. Pick up the pace on those crunches, though, and you'll kick your metabolism into turbo mode ... vigorous calisthenics burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes.
3. Watch even MORE TV (huh?)
Let's say you're just not into it -- you're tired, PMSing, and crabby and just want to veg on the couch, preferably with a pint of ice cream handy. Well, get comfy, because it will take 4 hours and 15 minutes of sedentary TV watching to burn 300 calories ... more if you make a serious dent in the Ben and Jerry's. That's eight times as long as it would take you burning 30 calories by running ... and can't you think of a lot more ways you'd rather be spending four free hours than by watching TV?
Have you tried combining a workout with your favorite show?
Image via Angel Raul Ravello Rodriguez/Flickr