Snuggled in for your favorite shows? Don’t forget to exercise: Every hour-long television program contains approximately six commercial breaks that last 3 minutes each, so you can get a total body workout without missing a scene.
Bonus: Exercising during breaks cuts down on snacking.
This workout is great for beginners, but it’s also good for exercisers of every level, since extra bouts of activity throughout the day help to keep your metabolism revved, says Prevention‘s fitness advisor Wayne L. Westcott, PhD, of Quincy, MA.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, followed by the aerobic component, until the show starts.
Break 1 Couch Pushups (chest, back of arms) Facing a couch, kneel on the floor about 2 feet away from it. Cross your ankles, and place your hands shoulder-width apart on a cushion edge. Slowly bend your arms, and lower your upper body until your chest touches the couch. Hold, then press up again.
Finish by doing jumping jacks.
Break 2 Side Crunches (obliques) Lie on a couch on your left side with your legs together and your knees bent. Place your right hand behind your head with your elbow pointing toward the ceiling. Wrap your left arm across your waist. Contracting the oblique muscles along your right side, lift your shoulder off the couch, bringing your rib cage toward your hip. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat, then switch sides. (If your couch is too soft, you may need to do this exercise on the floor.)
Finish with crossover punches. While standing, twist from your waist, and alternate punching your fists diagonally across your body.
Break 3 Armchair Stands (front of thighs, butt) Sit on the edge of a chair (or couch) with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without using your arms, press into the floor with your feet, and stand, tightening your butt muscles as you rise. Keep your abdominals tight and your back straight. Hold, then slowly lower yourself. Before you touch the chair, stand up again.
Finish by walking or jogging up and down stairs.
Break 4 Armchair Dips (back of arms) Sitting on the edge of a chair (or couch), place your hands on the edge on either side of you. Move your feet out so that your butt is off the chair, and your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. Bending your elbows so they point behind you, lower yourself as far as comfortable. Hold, then slowly press up again.
Finish by circling your fists in the air to imitate boxing a punching bag.
Break 5 Leg-up Couch Crunches (abdominals) Lie on your back on a couch with your knees bent, your feet up on one end, and your hands behind your head. Pressing your lower back into the couch, slowly lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the couch. Hold, then slowly lower. (If your couch is too soft, you may need to do this exercise on the floor.)
Finish by doing knee lifts. While standing, alternate bringing your right elbow down to meet your left knee, and vice versa.
Break 6 Scissors (inner and outer thighs) Lie on your back on a couch (you may need to angle yourself for more room) with your hands (palms down) under your butt and your legs straight up in the air. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet flexed, slowly spread your legs as far apart as comfortable. Hold, then slowly bring your legs together, resisting as you press them in.
Finish by doing side slides, stepping your right foot out to the side, then sliding your left foot to meet it. Repeat in the opposite direction, doing this as quickly as you can.