How to exercise while you binge-watch TV

If you feel bad about being lazy, these tips will help you move your body while you binge-watch.

Caroline Roberts Digital Editorial Intern
Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.
Caroline Roberts
4 min read

You don't need a fancy spin bike to workout in front of the TV.

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As millions of people worldwide practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, a lot of us are stuck inside without access to our local gyms, studios and parks -- a perfect recipe for feeling unfit and unmotivated. And if you're anything like me, you're binge watching tons of television and eating all the snacks you can during these stressful times.

Believe it or not, you can make this situation work to your advantage -- there are a million ways to stay fit without giving up screen time or your position on the couch. Here are seven ways to get in shape while binge-watching your favorite programs, so that you can have the best of both worlds.

There are close to 15 minutes of commercials per hour, so if you find some motivational strategies you can use TV time to get fitter than you've ever been. If you're streaming shows without ads, use these tips at then end of each episode.

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1. Do jumping jacks during commercials

Commercials only last 30 to 90 seconds, but if you do continuous jumping jacks you can fit in cardio that counts. Jumping jacks will help burn off some of those delicious snacks, and even small amounts of cardio reduce the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.

Or, if you have your life together and are planning on doing a separate workout later, jumping jacks work as a great warm-up exercise

2. Knock out a few push-ups on your snack run

A man in a red shirt with a fitness watch on, doing push-ups on a park bench at sunset.

With no equipment required, pushups are a great workout.

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You don't have to use weights to get ripped -- bodyweight exercises will do the trick. Every time you stand up to grab more snacks, try to do three to five push-ups. If you eat as many snacks as I do, you'll end up pretty buff.

Also, you can make the exercise easier by doing knee push-ups or even wall push-ups, then slowly work your way up. I believe in you.

3. Play a drinking game with water


Drinking more water will help make you feel better.

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No matter what TV show or sports game you're watching, there's sure to be a corresponding drinking game on the Internet. If you can't think of one, head over to DrinkWiki to search its extensive library.

Instead of throwing back booze, turn it into a family-friendly game by using small glasses of water. You'll get all of those health benefits from being hydrated, like feeling energized, plus you'll replenish the fluid you're sure to be losing from these other exercises.

4. Hold a plank contest during the credits


Planking is fun for the whole family.

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We usually tune out during the post-show credits, but you can turn on your family's competitive spirit and do a plank contest. Everyone gets down on their hands and feet, making sure your back is straight, and sees who can hold their plank the longest. Give older family members a knee-plank handicap to make the contest more fair.

If you're bingeing shows on your own, try to increase your plank time each time the credits roll.

5. Sprint in place while the clock is running during a football game

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Most sports are not in session right now, but maybe you're watching old replays of your favorite games. With all of the timeouts and out-of-bounds, the last few minutes of the fourth quarter seem to last for hours. Pick a time to start -- say, with five minutes left of the game -- and sprint in place only while the clock is actually running. When it stops, take a break. At the end of the game, you'll have a solid five minutes of intense cardio done without even noticing it. If you do this, don't forget to warm up first with some dynamic exercises so that you don't get hurt.

Plus, watching your favorite team play during crunch time is incredibly stressful, so you'll have an outlet to release your nervous energy.

6. Do 10 squats in between commercial breaks

Squats are great because you don't have to take your eyes off of the TV. After the show starts up again and you've done your commercial break exercise, knock out a quick set of squats. You won't have to miss the touchdown or who the Bachelor gives the rose to, and you'll have toned glutes in no time.

7. Stretch during the last episode of the night


Give those fingers a break from choosing Netflix shows.

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When your eyes start drooping and it's time to turn off the TV, don't forget to spend a few minutes stretching before crawling into bed. A post-workout cooldown is vital for reducing the likelihood of injury, relieving stress and generally calming your body down.

You don't have to miss the last minutes of your TV show either. Sit down on the ground and touch your toes, then move into a butterfly stretch. Don't forget to stretch your arms out, too.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.