Football season means long days spent with friends sitting on the couch, snacking on junk food and jumping up only to celebrate a touchdown — right? Well, maybe not. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re torn between enjoying the game and hanging out on the couch, but wanting to also be a little active.
As it turns out, staying limber while enjoying those Sunday afternoons or Monday nights watching football isn’t as tough as you may think. Sure, you can go for a jog during halftime, but there’s little fun in that and it may require leaving the house. It may be good for your health but it’s pretty antisocial.
Instead, get some support from your buddies and make a game out of the game. Even if you’re just hanging out with the family or just flying solo, you can get in some exercise and still tell your coworkers you spent the weekend watching football. Your heart will thank you, and your waistline might get a boost as well.
Play With Possessions
A jog around the block may not be optimal, but you can spend time on a stationary bike or treadmill or do a step routine. Use what’s going on between the teams to set the pace of what you do. As long as one team has possession, go at a slow pace, then move much more quickly when possession changes hands.
You will move, but you’ll also be focused on the match. If you’re not a fan of going rapid-fire on a treadmill, you may find you’re rooting for the other side just so you can start slowing down. To keep up your workout, try going at a mid-level or moderate pace during commercials.
Swap Out Football Season Snacks
You may love the chips and chicken wings, but healthier options with less calories are better for you, especially combined with exercising. Small changes in your eating habits can contribute to your health without taking away from your enjoyment of the game. Try sweet potato skins, apple and brie quesadillas, chicken skewers, butter-free popcorn, hummus and zucchini fries to curb the snack craving without ruining your workout.
Follow a Schedule
Whether you are watching three hours of football or binge-watching the latest season of your favorite show, it’s not ideal to sit for hours on end. Get the blood flowing by doing basic exercises every 20 minutes. Front kicks, overhead punches and bicycle crunches don’t even require you to leave the couch. Do them in sets of 20 or 40 to improve muscle strength and endurance.
If you do want to get up a little bit but not move too far from the sofa, do dips and half-squats off the edge or in front of your seat. When you’re done, collapse back into the comfy goodness.
Exercise Fantasy League
It may not have the same excitement as fantasy football, but you can make a game of your exercise by deciding beforehand to do a certain routine when something specific happens during the match. You can do 10 pushups per touchdown or 20 squats for a sack. To make it more interesting, bet with your friends, using exercise instead of money. Use your stats knowledge to wager over the number of points, for example, where the loser has to do a set of jumping jacks.
The great thing about exercise is that it doesn’t take much to get going. As long as you’re doing it safely, just about anything goes. Whenever you are watching the game this football season, remember to keep moving to stay in on the action.