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Football season fitness: Get a workout in while watching the big game

Football season fitness: Get a workout in while watching the big game

If football season is a part of your life from September to January, you can spend a lot of time on the couch between watching the Tigers or Green Wave on Saturday, the Saints on Sunday and all the games in between.

Sure, sometimes watching your favorite team will raise your heart rate as high as working out. When the game’s not that close, you can take steps to get a simple workout in while watching the game. Here’s how to keep your heart rate pumping this football season, no matter the results on the field.

Benefits of physical activity

There are many important health benefits of physical activity. Moving means you’re burning calories, which can help you lose weight. Regular exercise helps build stronger muscles, and aerobic activity strengthens your heart and lungs. Additionally, exercise can improve your mental health, help you sleep better, and it may decrease your risk of dementia later in life.

While going to the gym or taking a brisk walk in the morning before watching football is a great plan, we all know family obligations and errands can get in the way. Having a backup plan to work out while the game’s on is a good way to offset an otherwise sedentary activity. If you don’t have a regular exercise schedule, these mini workouts can help you ease into a new routine.

Make the game a workout

You’ve seen cheerleaders on the sidelines doing pushups equal to the score. Why not incorporate that tradition into your game-day workout? To exercise and keep your eye on the ball, try these other winning plays:

  • When your team gets a first down, do 10 jumping jacks. When your opponent gets a first down, do 10 sit-ups.
  • If the other team scores, do three burpees for each field goal or six burpees for each touchdown. If they make the extra point, do seven lunges.
  • For every time out, try to hold a plank or wall squat until the game resumes.

If you have weights at home, you can get in your reps while watching the game. Start slowly and add reps as you gain fitness. You can also ask your West Jefferson Medical Center primary care provider about easy home workouts. If push-ups and burpees are too challenging, a wide range of chair exercises are a great muscle strengthening activity. You can try bicep curls, shoulder presses and single leg raises without getting up.

Don’t watch the game at home

If you’re not intensely invested in this weekend’s game, try enjoying the game from a spot other than your favorite chair.

  • Go to the gym while the game’s on and watch it on TV while you’re on the bike or elliptical.
  • Listen to the game on wireless earbuds while you go for a long walk or run.
  • Stream the game from your laptop or phone while you do yard work.

Cool down, calm down

If the Saints are having one of those years, you might benefit from turning your focus to meditative exercise while you tune in to the broadcast. Is there a better way to train yourself to stay calm facing adversity than by practicing deep breathing when the Falcons are in town? Try holding a different yoga pose and breathing deeply for every play down the field. Whether you’re in downward dog, cobra or tree, you can practice finding balance and calm during periods of deep stress. No matter what happens with your favorite team this season, one thing is certain: In January, football season will end. Why not finish up the season less stressed and with better heart health than you began it?

Stay in the game with exercise tips and advice from your West Jefferson Medical Center primary care provider. Make an appointment today.