Health & Fitness

Watch TV, burn calories at same time

The average American watches about five hours of television a day, industry studies have shown. Instead of being a total couch potato, fitness experts say, try these moves to torch calories at the same time:

* Keep equipment on hand. Stash small weights, resistance bands, yoga mats and fitness DVDs in your TV stand or in a nearby container so you can grab them quickly during a favorite show. If you have a stationary bike or other machine at home, set it up in front of a television.

* Take advantage of commercials. If you get up and move during each break, your exercise minutes will add up quickly.

* Create competitions. See how many sit-ups, push-ups, crunches or jumping jacks you can do during a commercial break, and try to top your best number every time.

* Wear a pedometer. Walk or jog in place throughout a show — or just during commercials — and track how many steps you can take. You can also do some shadow boxing.

* Sit on a stability ball. These large inflatable balls help improve balance and posture and work abdominal muscles — as opposed to the couch, which does nothing for you. Large stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods or Sports Authority carry them.

* Find a good music channel. Put on your favorite genre (there are many choices on cable) and dance away.

* Fidget. People who move around even while they're sitting can burn hundreds of extra calories a day. Tap your feet, shake your legs, stretch your arms and rotate your neck regularly.

* Clean. Get some housework done during commercials. Dust the room you're in or run upstairs and see how much you can finish before the break is over.