A Fitness Program for Watching Television

By: Sherry Netherland, Director of Special Projects for Assisted Healthcare Services

How many of us have been lured into purchasing a fitness device with the sales pitch, “You can do it while watching television!”? How many of us are now watching it collect dust while we are watching television, or, worse, not seeing it at all because it “folds away for easy storage”?

Getting off the couch is hard, isn’t it? After all, aren’t we sitting down in front of the television to relax???? It’s not the place we associate with exercise.

Here’s a new approach. This is an easy routine that’s all about watching television. It’s designed to help us through the times we hate most while watching TV – the commercials. I am encouraging you to do 2 -3 minute spurts of activity during your favorite one hour show. May not seem like a lot, but these seeds for fitness may take root and who knows what will bloom. (Plant metaphor a bit much??)

During the First Commercial

Do Sherry’s Fantastic Four Stretches:

1. Burst Your Buttons
Clasp your hands behind your back.
Keep your arms straight.
Pushing down with your hands, puff out your chest.
Imagine bringing your shoulder blades together.
Hold this stretch for a count of 10.

2. Reach for the Sky
Clasp your hands in front of you.
Keep your arms straight.
Bring your hands over head.
Stretch them up to ceiling.
Hold this stretch for a count of 10.

3. Elbow Grab
Keep your arms up.
Unclasp your hands.
Bend one arm so the elbow stays up and the hand falls behind your head.
Grab the elbow with your opposite hand, pull the elbow in toward the center. (If you cannot reach the elbow, grab your wrist and pull.)
Hold this stretch for a count of 10.
Switch arms.

4. Shoulder Stretch
Hold one arm straight out in front of you.
Bring it across your chest.
Use your other hand to pull it into your body.
Hold this stretch for a count of 10

During the Mid-Show Commercials

Stand up and sit down in place for one entire commercial (try to get to 10 times)

or… Walk back and forth to the kitchen until all the commercials end getting a no or low calorie beverage and a fruit on the last trip

or… Go up and down a flight of stairs in your house twice

During the Third Commercial

1. Sitting straight up in your chair or on the couch, twist your upper body to look as far behind you as you can. You can pull yourself around using your hand on the arm of the chair to assist with this twist. (caution, this cannot be done effectively if you are sitting in a recliner).
2. Make a fist with each hand, then spread your fingers out as widely as you can. Repeat this 10 times.
3. Extend your arm straight out in front of you and gently pull the fingers back with the other hand. Hold for a 10 count, switch hands.
4. Put your palms facing each other in the “prayer” position. Squeeze your palms together in front of your chest. Hold the contraction for a count of 10. Repeat 3 times.



c2008 Sherry Netherland is the Director of Special Projects for Assisted Healthcare Services, a Medicare certified, CHAP accredited home health agency with 7 branches in California and Arizona. She founded the Assisted Speakers Bureau and she speaks on a variety of healthcare related issues. To learn more about private duty nursing and how Assisted can help, www.assisted1.com/home_health_care.

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