Introduction

Those of you who know me will have at some point heard me say “try exercising in front of the TV”.  A client of mine suggested I expand on this idea in long form and I’ve taken him up on the challenge. It’s something I continuously preach because it offers a realistic and actionable solution for integrating exercise into our daily routine. 

This article aims to address and resolve the fact that despite our good intentions and understanding of the importance of exercise, we often fail to do it.

At the bottom of the article I have also included a link to an exercise program designed to be done whilst watching TV.

 

Addressing the Problem

Entering the fitness industry, my role as I understood it, was to educate people on which exercises to do, how to execute them etc. Increasingly however, I’m observing that the underlying issue to solve isn’t our lack of exercise knowledge but our reluctance to apply it. I’m a prime example of this. Despite having fitness qualifications, I’ve still had periods where I’ve failed to stay active. 

For some, a pre-planned structured workout is simply unrealistic. It’s a big commitment to set time aside for exercise and I know a lot of people also have this sense that they’re “wasting time” when they do this. I have experienced this myself where I’ve felt restless in the gym and had the urge to leave and do something else.

 

My Solutions 

The alternative is to incorporate exercise into our existing routine. This can be achieved in several ways.

The example given in the Title is a good one because it combines a more challenging habit with an enjoyable one. This helps us to feel more positive about doing the things we know we ought to do. 

Another simple way to increase our activity levels is to walk more. This might mean getting off the bus one stop sooner than usual or walking to the shops. The benefits here far outweigh the sacrifice. Walking can increase bone density, improve cardiovascular fitness and increase muscular endurance. 

You can also utilize empty moments within the day. Whether you’re in a waiting room, at the bus stop or idling whilst the kettle boils, this is essentially dead time which you can capitalize on to do something physical. Marching on the spot, pushing your arms above your head or balance exercises are all things you could do in these scenarios. In public, this may result in some strange looks but if we are trying to develop our physical health then we can’t let others get in the way of that.  

When we are at home, we can get creative and brainstorm small habits that can be done throughout our normal routine. Some examples that my clients do are straight leg raises in bed before they get up, keeping food items on high shelves to encourage stretching up high and walking along the grout lines on the kitchen tiles to challenge balance. I sometimes even do 10 step ups on the bottom step before I walk upstairs. I’m sure you can all think of your own ideas to try at home.
All these little habits compound to create huge benefits. 
My final top tip is simply to find a means of exercise which you enjoy. It might be walking the dog or feeding the swans, it really doesn’t matter. One of the main barriers to exercise is the fact that most of us don’t enjoy it. It requires effort and exertion; at times it causes us to perspire. Essentially, it’s a form of voluntary discomfort and so it doesn’t come naturally. The most powerful way therefore, to make exercise a sustained part of our lives is to find a way to make it fun. Get creative!
I wish you all the best of luck with your endeavors. Stay safe and I look forward to hearing how you all get on.