AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

While I’m not big on vices and I work hard to keep so-called bad fitness behavior to a minimum, there is one form of “bad” entertainment that I simply can’t stay away from: professional sports. From football to hockey to basketball, my indulgence in sporting events, especially those on television, is one of my preferred ways to spend an evening or a weekend afternoon, a pastime shared by many of us around the world.

From a general health point of view, sports are fantastic. They get people moving, they often require extreme levels of activity, and they give people a fantastic reason to get together, whether it’s on a field, an ice rink or anywhere else.

Unfortunately for me, and millions of you, the professional variety of sports leaves us as mere spectators, giving us the thrill of the game in a package that entirely eliminates the positive physical effects that it offers. Indeed, most of my favorite sports-related memories involve me stationary on the sofa, often with an unhealthy (but delicious) snack within reach.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a bit of television surfing, no matter what your preferred programming is, but studies have repeatedly shown that the amount of time that we spend sitting down correlates directly to the length of time that we should expect to live, giving each one of us an unbeatable reason to trade in some of that screen time for an activity that gets us up and moving instead.

Off the Couch and Into the Game

So what’s my point here? Am I telling you that you’ll need to give up being a sports fan in order to live fitter and longer?

Most definitely, unequivocally, not.

Like most everything else that is enjoyable in life, moderation is the key to healthy intake, and this applies to couch time as well as it does to chocolate or cheese fries. So long as you offset your spectator time with exercise time, you’ll be able to indulge in your favorite professional sports guilt-free!

To make that offsetting easier, here are two simple ideas that will get you on the road to being as buff as a linebacker – or even just a very fit referee:

1. Move While You Watch

One easy way to keep fit while you watch a game is to perform simple exercise while in front of the television. You can use equipment like a treadmill, exercise bike or weights, or just the space around you as you do sets of jumping jacks or push-ups between whistles. This informal approach will help to keep things fun, and the resulting increased heart rate should only amplify the thrill of the game!

2. Let Passion Be Your Guide

Being a sports fan comes with its fair share of disappointment and frustration, leaving you to rage unheard against a player for missed shot or other mistake. Since you’re unlikely to get results from shouting at a screen, try to use that passion to your advantage by doing what your favorite athlete couldn’t – or did – do!

For me, this often entails turning off a hockey game at the conclusion of the third period and spending 30 minutes shooting a ball around my driveway, reigniting the thrill of emulating my favorite players and scenarios as a child and giving me a surprisingly thorough workout.

With passion guiding you, you’ll find that you’re sweating up a storm before you realize that you’re working as hard as you are, enjoying the thrill of the game within the game as much as you always did!

Categories: Mental health

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