Did you watch all 3½ hours of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies this past Friday night? What a spectacular it was. All the performers looked like they must be burning thousands of calories at the rate they were moving around—an amazing show, for sure. But that was a long time to be sitting if you did watch it, and you probably were munching on snacks, too. (Were they healthy ones?) After coming home from a play, this exerciser got on the treadmill to watch the recorded opening, despite the late hour. Then a commercial came on and you heard a voice, an athlete, say, “I haven’t ordered a dessert in two years.”
Wow! You know that those athletes give new meaning to exercise, and they sacrifice for many years to get into the shape they need to be to compete with the best of the best. Eating desserts is probably not on their fitness plan. And, they probably watch very little television or, when they do, they are still exercising. As you plan your schedule to watch the various events, how many hours do you have programmed to be “sitting”? A lot, right? And you will probably even forego the gym to watch those special events. So what can you do to prevent weight gain over the next two weeks?
Exercise as if you were imaging yourself to be an athlete (okay, this is stretching it, but you get the idea!). You can actually work in a whole series of intervals as you take in all the excitement of the games. Here is how it works. No matter what the sport, you can adapt its movements to what you can do in your living room or wherever your TV is. And the best thing is that you can do all these exercises in short spurts of time—5 to 10 minutes as you watch the games on TV. Put on your thinking cap, and see how you would mimic the movements of the athletes in their sports as they compete, doing as many repetitions and sets as you can in short intervals. Here are a few ideas, and you can probably think of more (comment on them, please).
- Badminton: Put a 1- or 2-pound can or weight in each hand, and reach up as if you were trying to swat the little invisible birdie. Then slam down. Bend low and swat the birdie again. Keep it up!
- Fencing: Do some lunges with your arms stretched out. Alternate your legs.
- Beach Volleyball: Ok, here you don’t have to put on that bikini—unless of course you want to! Stand on your toes (to tone your calves), or stand on a step bench, reach high with both arms; come down with both arms as if you were hitting the ball. Jump (or bend down to mimic the movement). Turn from side to side. Move your arms in all directions.
- Archery: This is a great stretching exercise. Again, tense your hand and arm muscles, making the movement of an archer. Alternate arms.
- Boxing: Just pretend you are boxing. Get out all that stress of the day. Bounce lightly on your feet, punch with alternating arms (left hook, right hook, upper hook—you know, just watch the athletes and follow them).
- Swimming: You can come up with several movements here, some while standing, and others while on the floor. Do the back stroke, breast stroke, and whatever else they are doing on the TV. Swimming provides great stretching exercises.
No matter what you are watching on TV, you can always do some exercise. It may not be aerobic, but then, a well-rounded fitness program includes a little bit of everything – aerobics, stretching, strengthening. Doing this short exercise intervals will be a lot of fun, and you won’t feel like you are wasting time as you sit plopped on the couch.
Tomorrow, return to see what you can do for your in-home exercise routine for other Olympic sports, including basketball, rowing, cycling, tennis, and weightlifting.