Oh how we love to treat ourselves to a break. Let’s call it Couch Potato Day and every once in awhile it has to happen. You in? Picture it. We swallow the guilt and lie there, eating snacks, adjusting pillows, watching shows. Too bad life ain’t made of this. Sadly, there comes a time when we have to light a fire under our butt and find a way to get moving.
Lucky for us, that doesn’t mean we have to give up our love affair with sofas or The Young & The Restless. All we need are a few exercise tips to transition us from supine to super (fit, that is), and according to celeb fitness expert Dr. Raj, an orthopedic surgeon at the Beverly Hills Orthopedic Institute, they’re simple enough.
And here they are. Five easy exercises you can do – practically from the couch – to get yourself in shape.
5 SIMPLE EXERCISES TO GET YOU OFF THE COUCH
1. Stretch. Like all the time.
Each morning when you rise and shine, there is a reason why your first inclination is to stretch before rolling out of bed. Stretching not only lengthens muscles, it improves circulation which helps to release toxins. To prevent injury, stretch both before and after physical activity. That means before you get off the couch, too – oh, and when you return.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
Walking may not be jogging but believe it or not, walking each day will keep the doctor away. The 10,000 steps campaign suggests that a daily count of thousands of paces has various long-term health benefits. While walking alone isn’t going to win any body building competitions, 20 minutes of daily walking is the single best thing you can do for your health. So walk around – especially those commercial breaks when you’re replenishing your healthy snacks.
3. Always, always take the stairs.
Rather than taking the easy ride up the escalator or elevator, make the choice, again and again, to climb the stairs. Walking up a flight of stairs strengthens the heart and lungs and burns calories as well. Even as little as one flight of stairs is better than no movement at all. Oh, and take them down, too.
4. Lift some weights.
Right there on the couch, you can use your hand weights. Weight bearing exercises, including golf if you need a break from TV, are the key to building bone mass which has been proved to postpone osteoporosis and arthritis. From swinging those clubs to walking between holes, a day out on the golf course is good for both body and mind.
5. Work out right there – from the couch.
Those who have weak knees and are prone to injury (or just can’t give up their TV time) can avoid putting excess pressure on the knees by exercising from their seat. Yes, that means you don’t have to get up at all. Alternating leg lifts from a seated position provide a continuous range of motion. Seated jacks, which are literally jumping jacks while sitting down, are another great way to get the body moving.
Dr. Raj is a Double Board Certified (American and Canadian) Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in hip, knee, and joint replacements, arthritis pain, sports injuries, fractures and alternative, conservative, and surgical options for any joint, bone or muscle pain.