Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Exercise and Fitness

Watch TV and Work Out to Kill the Couch Potato Blues

Woman exercising at home

Watching too much TV can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dying young. But the problem isn’t TV itself; it’s the act of sitting or lying down for such long periods of time that is also connected with unhealthy eating, according to Amanda Gardner of CNN.

On the flip side, television now includes many health-focused networks and shows that can teach you about nutrition, fitness, and other health topics, including shows that can guide you in exercise. It may seem counterintuitive, but television is one technology that can help people become healthier in today’s busy world.

Health-Focused Television Channels

Entire networks exist that are completely dedicated to the topic of health. These include Discovery Fit and Health, which covers a myriad of aspects of health, from pregnancy to weight loss. Additional channels, such as the Live Well Network and ION Life, make health a focus for their programming. (You can find these cable networks through providers such as

Healthy Shows

On ION Life, you can watch healthy shows like Alive & Well, which introduces you to an abundance of natural health options; Body Fuel, which shows you how to eat right for body building; and The Right Fit, which teaches about healthy nutrition. And, of course, popular network broadcast shows such as The Biggest Loser, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Doctors teach about healthy lifestyles. Even reality competitions such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, which viewers can dance along to themselves, encourage healthy exercise.

Exercise Shows

When most people think of watching television, visions of a couch potato who sits on a chair while staring blankly at the screen come to mind. But the TV can actually be a great way to get up and moving if you take advantage of the many exercise programs that guide you through workouts. Additionally, these programs can provide the perfect way to stick to an exercise routine, since you can work out from your own living room. Engage in a variety of exercises on TV, such as yoga, Pilates, and dance. Try shows such as Power Yoga: Mind & Body on ION Life for yoga moves, or Total Body Sculpt with Gilad on Discovery Fit and Health for personal training.

Exercise While You Watch

Watching television also provides fun for those who find exercise boring. There are dozens of exercises, including standing lunges and push-ups, that require no equipment and can be performed in the comfort of your living room, according to Fitwell LLC president Ted Vickey. And with research showing short, high-intensity workouts can be just as effective as longer, more moderate exercise, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola on Peak Fitness, there is no need to exercise during your entire 2-hour made-for-TV movie — just work out at high-intensity levels to make commercial breaks go by more quickly.

TV fans can also utilize health technology with the TV set. The Wii video game system allows you to perform certain exercises, such as step-ups, on its Wii Fit board while watching your favorite shows, guiding you with the controller while you check out the TV channel.

Have you improved your health by using your TV? Let us know how in the comments.

About the Author

Alexandra Jones is a Spinning instructor and grad student in Houston. She likes to blog about fun, innovative ways to stay healthy and exercise.

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