You've had a long day at work and now you're finally at home with some time to kill. For many of us, that means making a cuppa and settling down to watch some TV. While it's good to allow yourself some downtime, sitting in front of the box isn't exactly the healthiest of activities. That's why you need some guidelines for keeping this habit in check before you get square-eyed.
Sedentary activities like watching the telly have long been blamed for low fitness levels and obesity, with a recent study even linking marathon sessions to depression and loneliness. So how can you shake it off and switch things up (and the TV off)?
Firstly, put a timer on that habit of yours. Ideally, you might like to cut down to just an hour of TV a day. Most shows are either 30 minutes or an hour long, which means you don't have to miss out. As long as you can avoid spoilers, try using catch-up services instead. That way you won't be tempted to check the guide once your programme ends and 'accidentally' end up tuning to something else afterwards. You could also literally set a timer. Sometimes that's all we need to shake us out of our glazed-over telly watching state.
For many people, watching TV means snacking. And did you know that eating while distracted, such as when focused on a dramatic soap storyline, often leads to consuming more than intended? To avoid this, make pre-prepared, healthy snacks for telly time. A little Tupperware tub of weighed portions of dried fruit, popcorn, nuts and fresh fruit and veg are all great ways to keep on top of the calories. Stick a post-it note with the calorie count on the lid if you prefer visual reminders of what you're eating.
If you're watching your TV live, you won't be able to escape the ad breaks. Rather than moaning about having to watch that commercial AGAIN, use those three minutes wisely. There are plenty of HIIT exercises that take next to no time. Make yourself a little programme to work out to during those 180 seconds you have spare. Something like a minute of jumping jacks, followed by one of press-ups and another of the plank works well.
Watching television should be a treat but when we do it so often, it becomes mundane. How many times have you and your family/partner/roomies ended up sitting there, staring blankly at the screen and complaining there's "nothing on". Instead, plan just to watch the things you're really interested in and use the rest of your time for other things. Go to the gym, clean the flat, play a board game, pre-make your lunch for the week, call your mum... You'll get so much more done and likely communicate more with the people around you. As a plus, you'll rediscover your love of TV and really appreciate the time you do watch something you genuinely enjoy.
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