By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“There are really only two requirements when it comes to exercise.
One is that you do it. The other is that you continue to do it.”
~Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller

The most common reason why we writers don’t exercise is because we don’t have time. Yet we somehow magically find time to watch our favorite TV shows.

Often we don’t feel like exercising. We feel too tired or stressed and just want to relax after a hard day’s work. Finally, even if we start exercising, we soon give up because of boredom. Of course, we are writers and artists, so we can come up with a hundred other reasons for not exercising.

There is a simple solution to all these excuses: Exercise while watching TV!

Five benefits of exercising while watching TV

Exercising while watching TV (or funny cat videos on YouTube) is a no-brainer. Check out all its benefits:

  1. Guilt-free TV:

Instead of “wasting time” watching TV, we can exercise and improve our health. Instant nirvana!

  1. Gym TV at home:

Here’s a fun fact: most expensive gyms have TV and most gym members watch TV while umm… exercising. So you can do the same thing at home. Best of all, you save gym membership fees and the hassles of commuting.

  1. Freedom from exercise-boredom:

TV-exercise is an enjoyable way to have some fun while getting fit. We are less likely to feel bored because we are watching our favorite TV programs.

  1. Defuses the perils of TV

Exercising while watching TV is a great way to neutralize the health hazards of a couch-potato life.

  1. Mental health booster:

Exercise improves mood and memory. Also, it helps to prevent depression and dementia.

How to start TV-exercise

If you are elderly, physically unfit or have never exercised before, consult your family doctor before you start any exercise program. In any case, start with gentle exercise and gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise. You can do these exercises during advertisements.

Initially, choose exercises that you can do while facing the TV and don’t have too much twisting, turning or other movements.

Once your body and mind get used to the idea of TV-exercise, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise.

General exercise guidelines:

  1. Exercise all parts of your body.
  2. Increase intensity of exercise progressively.
  3. Do a variety of exercise so that you develop all aspects of physical fitness: strength, stamina, flexibility, agility, and co-ordination.
  4. Avoid extremes – be careful to avoid over-exercising and injury.
  5. Enjoy your exercise.

Additional tips about TV and health

Though exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight while watching TV, people all over the world are sharing their results from doing this, check it out here. Don’t forget however, that there are several other things you can do to improve your health.

  1. Don’t eat while watching TV. Switch off TV during meals and eat slowly and mindfully. Don’t keep unhealthy food in the TV room (out of sight, out of mind!).
  1. Drink water regularly while watching TV. Whenever you think you are hungry, first drink a glass of water.
  1. Switch off TV at least one hour before bedtime. Also avoid other screens such as computers and smartphones.
  1. Avoid TV programs with excessive violence and negativity. Instead, choose comedy shows or shows featuring yoga, aerobic exercise, gym workouts, etc.
  1. Avoid excessive TV. Consider options such as reading, outdoor exercise, etc.

Here’s a Zen koan: Is it possible to watch too little TV?

Finally, remember that physical exercise is a tested way to boost your creativity. Whenever you want a break, it’s okay to watch iZombie but don’t turn into a zombie. Move your body. Remember what Leon Eldred said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

TV-exercise action-step: Set a timer for ten minutes and exercise while watching TV.

Start by standing and gently moving different parts of your body.

Easy does it!

Join the conversation: Have you ever exercised while watching TV? Was it more enjoyable? Let us know in the comments below.

(13 December 2016)

Rohi Shetty is a doctor, meditation teacher, and health writer. Check out his website at and connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook

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