Lose Weight While Watching TV
Weight Loss Motivation – The Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity
Being overweight or obese increases the risks of getting serious medical conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) these increased risks include:
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Dyslipidemia (e.g., high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
Anyone who is overweight or obese should be motivated to lessen these health risks by losing weight.
Exercise Motivation – The Health Benefits of Physical Activity
The CDC confirms that regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do for their health. Specifically, regular physical activity can help:
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you're an older adult
- Increase your chances of living longer
We all want to improve our health, reduce the risks of chronic diseases, and increase our chances of having a longer life. Physical activity can help deliver these benefits as well as helping with weight loss.
Different Ways to Lose Weight While Watching TV
Here are alternative ways you can exercise while watching TV:
A. Aerobic Exercise
- Walk or jog in place
- Walk or jog on a treadmill (at home or in a gym)
- Ride an exercise bike (at home or in a gym)
- Dance in front of TV
B. Strength Training
- Do calisthenics in front of TV
- Lift weights in front of TV
- Use exercise bands in front of TV
Both aerobic exercise and strength training are important when losing weight. Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn fat and strength training is the best way to preserve and build muscle. Because muscle is so metabolically active, it burns far more calories per pound than other tissue, especially more than fat tissue. Adding muscle increases your ability to burn fat calories during your daily activities.
Aerobic Exercise While Watching TV
All adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Moderate intensity is exercising at a pace that raises both your heart rate and breathing rate significantly and that pace is maintained for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time (warm-up and cool down time does not count as aerobic).
Moderate intensity is when you get slightly or moderately out of breath but are never gasping for air. A frequently used guide is the talk test: If you can still talk then you’re not working too hard. If you can sing while exercising then you’re probably not aerobic and are not working hard enough.
For Weight Loss
Adults who are overweight or obese should gradually work up to getting 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every day in order to lose weight. Again that time does not count five-minute warm-up and five-minute cool-down segments. It’s OK if that daily 60-90 minutes is accumulated in multiple bouts of aerobic activity lasting 10 to 20 minutes at a time. But once conditioned, you can watch a one-hour TV program with a warm-up before and a cool-down after and get 60 minutes of aerobic exercise done in one TV program.
Once able to exercise aerobically for 60 to 90 minutes a day you’ll be getting from seven to ten and a half hours of aerobic activity per week. That’s enough both for weight loss and for maximum health benefits available from cariorespiratory exercise. It may take a few months to work up to 60 minutes or more of aerobic exercise per day. That’s OK. You’ll be getting fitter as you go.
Strength Training While Watching TV
Strength training is only needed two or three times a week as long as all major muscle groups are included. Strength training should not be done on consecutive days because muscles need 48 hours to repair/recover. A good strength-training schedule might be Monday, Wednesday, Friday -- or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
The Mayo Clinic website has good how-to video collections on strength training for four different modes:
- Body-weight exercises
- Resistance-tubing exercises
- Free-weight exercises
- Weight-machine exercises (usually can't watch TV doing these)
If you haven’t done strength training in a while (or ever) the Mayo Clinic’ videos and other information are a great place to start. Visit its How-to video collection to learn more about specific strength training exercises.
Caution – Check with Your Doctor
You should always check with your doctor before starting an exercise or diet program. This is especially true if you have any chronic medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, etc.).
Learn to Eat Smarter to Lose Weight
Physical activity can get you fit and help you lose weight as well, but permanent changes in eating habits are usually required to make weight loss both significant and permanent. Pay attention to related articles about your diet, below.
Related Articles and References
Articles related to weight loss and/or better eating habits include:
- How to Lose Weight by Walking Briskly
- How to Follow the Mayo Clinic Diet
- How to Get More Vegetables in Your Diet
- How to Get More Fruit in Your Diet for Proper Nutrition
cdc.gov, Overweight and Obesity: Health Consequences, (accessed September 22, 2010)
cdc.gov, The Benefits of Physical Activity, (accessed September 22, 2010)
mayoclinic.com, Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier (accessed September 22, 2010)