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Exercise Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Dec 12, 2013 - 12:09:56 PM

Couchersizing During TV Time Builds Muscle, Protects Mobility

By Staff Editor
Dec 12, 2013 - 12:06:05 PM

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( - Boston, MA - Many people have trouble finding the motivation to get off the couch and exercise. For them, couchersizing is one way to get moving, reports the December 2013 Harvard Health Letter. That means staying on or near the couch and exercising while watching television.

"A growing body of literature connects the amount of time you spend sitting to illness and even death. Minimizing long periods of inactivity, like exercising during commercial breaks, can help reduce the risk of injury and may even help you live longer," says Kailin Collins, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

It's possible to work many different muscle groups while seated on the couch. To boost heart rate, work the oblique muscles on the sides of the abdomen, and whittle the waist, twist your torso from side to side for the length of a commercial break. It's also possible to exercise while lying on the couch: with legs extended, squeeze the quadriceps on the front of the thigh for a count of 10, then relax. Repeat several times. Try leg lifts while lying flat to build abs, or side lifts to strengthen hip muscles.

Other examples of couchersizing include:

  • sit to stand
  • calf stretches
  • standing on one leg
  • shoulder blade squeeze
  • hand squeeze

Of course, it's also a good practice to walk around the room with arms a-swinging, while watching a show or during commercials. The more movement, the more the heart, muscles, brain, and the rest of the body will benefit.

Read the full-length article: "Easy exercises for couch potatoes"

Also in the December 2013 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

  • Tips for weaning yourself away from sleep medicine
  • Identifying a headache type can bring faster relief
  • Surprising sources of caffeine

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $16 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).


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