Glued to the Couch? 5 Exercises You Can Do Instead of Sitting Around that Actually Work

couch dude
Image by: Matt Reinbold
By  Ken Lucas

Some of us just don’t have the time or energy to invest in vigorous workouts at our local gym facilities. The thought of paying to go to a place with ridiculously hot, unattainable women parading around in spandex, meat-heads mumbling under their breaths about how scrawny you are, and the naked guys in the locker room having elaborate, gesticulated discussions may be draining. And that’s perfectly understandable. Not all of us have lifestyles fit for exercise routines.

But just because that might be the case, doesn’t mean you should give up exercise entirely. You may have never considered it before, but you can make gains, lose weight and get toned right in the comfort of your own home. Cardio and resistance training can all be executed at maximum levels even while watching your favorite reality television show. Have I got your attention yet? Good, here are a few effective exercises you can trade off for your time on the couch.

#1) Treadmill

Ever wonder why they have a multitude of televisions in front of the treadmills at gyms and fitness centers? That’s because the best way to burn calories is to watch episodes of South Park while doing so. Two birds one stone the saying goes, and by investing a few hundred dollars into that new living room companion, you may come to find your physique evolving into something slim, trim and pretty darn appetizing for any female friends you may have in the backdrop of your life.

Studies have been conducted that show Americans on average watch about 5 hours of T.V per day. That’s a lot of time, people. And by lugging that treadmill right in front of the flat screen, you will—if you are the typical American—effectively be increasing your body’s cardiac output, which will result in the burning of calories and the loss of unnecessary weight.

#2) Sit Ups

Some say that sit ups are obsolete and that good abs are made in the kitchen. I would agree to some extent, but giving yourself a quick, effective ab burn while watching your favorite shows couldn’t hurt too much. Abs are either dictated by genetics or diet, but just like any other muscle they require isolation for growth. Crunches, sit-ups and leg raises are all effective means of tearing those muscle fibers in your abdominal’s and triggering the hypertrophy effect—if done enough, of course. Basic crunches probably won’t cause your abs to look like an egg carton any time soon, but might do well to tone up and burn calories.

#3) Commercial Pushups

Doing pushups during commercials is not only a great way to avoid the force feeding of products or services you probably don’t need, but is also a great way to pass the time and get in shape while doing so. Just think about the other things you may catch yourself doing during a 3 episode 30 minute program like refilling that bowl of ice-cream, browsing the web, or fitting in a quick doze.

But imagine if during every single commercial of every program you watch you do a select amount of pushups. You can bet that in a few weeks—especially during football season—your body will start to resemble that of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. Okay, perhaps you won’t get that buff, but these commercial pushups will definitely pave the way toward making crazy gains.

#4) Lunges/Squats

The best part about lunges and squats during television time is the simple fact that it doesn’t require you to detract your eyes from the screen. Getting a nice leg workout while watching your favorite sport is a great way to tone your lower body. And after you become a pro at the basics, be more creative and turn the regular movements into jumping motions. And if you find yourself eventually seeking even more resistance, throw on a back pack, fill it with pounds of rice and make like a frog and jump, jump jump! Just make sure your curtains are closed, wouldn’t want the neighbors seeing you…

#5) Fidget

Never thought that slight movement of your leg while sitting would result in you losing weight did you? Well, even though the idea of fidgeting being a part of your exercise routine, studies show that doing this can burn up to 350 more calories a day. Clapping, twitching your leg, playing with the remote control, or even raising your arm to turn the channel may all suffice as good couch workouts.

Well, perhaps I exaggerated with a bit there, but the bottom line is if your body is in motion, no matter what that motion is, then you will be burning calories. So it goes without saying that the more complete the motion is the more calories you will be burning. So instead of relying on your channel searching abilities to fit into those too-tight jeans, try some arm circles, seated leg raises and shoulder shrugs. All these movements are very much possible even on the comfort of your own couch.

Have you been spending more time exercising in your house than adding mileage to your couchs’ invisible odometer? That’s great! How about sharing the details of how you overcame your laziness in the comments section below!