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TV Fitness

By Melissa Haug

Has the “bad” weather got you cooped up in your house for the winter? Do you find yourself making excuses as to why you “can’t” exercise today? Are you worried working out at night will cause you to miss that favorite TV show?

There are no more excuses for missing out on a daily exercise routine. If watching TV is your favorite nightly activity, energize your couch potato habits with nightly commercial exercises.

A typical 30-minute TV program includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local, for a grand total of 8 minutes of commercials (although some half-hour blocks may have as much as 12 minutes of commercials).

Each commercial length averages 10-30 seconds, depending on the television station’s purchase of ad time. However, the majority of commercials today run in 15 second increments.

In other words, over the course of an evening, let’s say maybe three programs, or three hours, you could get a total of 48 minutes of a workout when performing exercises for 16 minutes each one-hour long program.

Keep in mind that 30 minutes of accumulated exercise is recommended by the ACSM, or American College of Sports Medicine for health benefits.

So, here’s a thought, instead of making excuses, try multi-tasking. You can still see you favorite programs while working out in your own home this winter season.

Begin your workout with a warm-up during the intro of your first program with some side-to-side shuffles across the room. This will elevate your heart, warm you muscles, and prepare your body for movement.

During the rest of the commercials you can use home equipment such as exercise balls, dumbbells, bands, or merely your body weight to do the exercises.

Try these basic exercises for your commercial workouts.


  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups (on a ball or floor)
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Bicep Curls
  • Overhead Tricep Extension


  • Stairs
  • Jump Rope (if ceilings are high)
  • Shuffles
  • Squat jumps
  • Moving Lunges (around to room)

You can vary the number of repetitions, exercise speed, and number of sets to change intensity and keep you interested in the different activities. Typically, shoot to do 2 sets of 15-20 reps for any exercise when using lighter weights or body weight.

Be sure to have controlled movements with good posture; straight back, feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent, with tight abdominals, when performing all exercises. This will reduce risk of injury and ensure you are working the desired muscle group. It’s also a good idea to drink water to keep yourself hydrated during the program.

No more of that extra buttery popcorn during your evening TV programs, now only physical activity!

© All staff articles are used by permission of the respective author(s). Copyright belongs to the University Life Café. No part of this may be used without authorization.

TV Fitness (pdf)