5 ways to stay fit while watching TV

Looking for an easy way to burn some extra calories, without missing your favourite show? Read our tips to find out how…

According to an Ofcom survey, the average Brit spends almost four hours a day watching TV – which may come as bad news for our fitness routines and waistlines.

However, the good news is, you don’t need to ditch your favourite TV shows or Netflix habit entirely if you want to get in shape. Here’s how to stay fit and healthy while catching up on the soaps.

Use a stability ball

You can burn extra calories while watching TV simply by changing what you’re sitting on. Rather than settling down on the sofa for a TV marathon, try sitting on a stability ball. This will cause your body to work harder and readjust its position more often to balance itself, burning more calories and engaging the core abdominal muscles.

Make the most of advert breaks

Advert breaks may only last a few minutes, but the time can quickly add up if you spend an hour or so each night watching TV. Rather than wasting these precious moments, make the most of the time by getting up and active for each advert break. Use a skipping rope, jog on the spot or have a quick run up and down the stairs to give your fitness levels a boost and squeeze more activity in to your day.

Create a couch potato workout

Many of the most effective exercises can be done just about anywhere – including in front of your TV – and without disrupting your viewing. Try doing some squats and lunges, which will help to strengthen your core and tone your lower body, or lift weights, which will help to tone the body, maintain strength and help with weight management. Hula hooping is also a good repetitive exercise that requires little concentration but can burn off as many as 100 calories for every ten minutes and helps to tone the waist.

You could combine exercises – and give different parts of your body a workout – by creating a circuit-training regime, swapping to a different form of exercise at the end of each scene. Just make sure you have everything together before the show starts so you can switch between exercises quickly.


If you’re feeling tired or just don’t feel like working out, you can still burn extra calories just by fidgeting – which research suggests can burn up to 350 extra calories a day! Boost your calorie burn by increasing incidental exercise while watching TV, such as getting up to change the channel rather than using the remote control, or doing another activity, such as knitting or sewing, while watching TV.

Choose healthy snacks

Many of us snack out of habit while watching TV, and eating while distracted can also cause us to ignore signals that we’ve eaten enough. If you must snack while watching TV, opt for healthy snacks such as popcorn – which is low in calories but will keep you full for a long time – fresh fruit, or a protein-packed dip such as hummus with some vegetable crudités.

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