Couch potatoes are those of us who opt not to live life in the fast lane. In fact they arguably don’t live life in the slow lane either – but instead choose to live life essentially static, and specifically on the couch. Unfortunately this then takes a toll on those people’s bodies, and while you might think that a sedentary lifestyle would result in your body remaining in good condition (due to the fact that it wouldn’t get placed under any strain), the reality is that it would actually result in quite the opposite as our bodies are designed in fact to thrive under exertion.
Being a couch potato in short will mean that you gain weight, that your heart grows weaker, that your blood pressure rises, that your circulation gets damaged, that your energy levels and mood suffer and that even your IQ will decrease.
In other words it’s time to get off the couch and to get in the gym – or at least outdoors. The problem of course is that when you are already suffering from low energy, low mood and sore joints – you perhaps unsurprisingly don’t have quite the energy you need to get out there and start training. It’s a vicious circle and it takes a lot of drive as well as the right workout to break it.
That’s why these couch potato exercises might prove useful to some – as a way that you can work out from the comfort of your cushions. Start here and then eventually you can maybe progress to full on standing up exercises (dare to dream!). For the rest of us these might just be useful as exercises we can do when we’re feeling particularly lazy, or when we need to watch something on TV and be sociable.
The following exercises not only you to remain sitting down, but also don’t require any weights or equipment meaning they really are the ultimate in convenience and laziness.
Static contraction means pushing against something that won’t move so that you’re using the most possible strength you can muster. For instance press your hands in against each other in prayer – but then keep pushing (to work the pecs), or place your hands on your knees and then push them forward using your abs. Hold for around ten seconds each time and then repeating for five to ten repetitions.
Okay so you aren’t exactly on the sofa here, but you’re close enough… Just slide off slightly so your bum is raised over the ground and you’re holding yourself up with your palms (fingers facing you). Now try lowering yourself down and pushing up using your triceps to pivot at the elbows. Better yet try dipping with just one arm – either by taking your other hand off of the sofa, or by dipping down more to one side for several reps and then the other.
Incline Press Ups
Similarly you can put your feet up on the sofa and use the steeper angle to do more difficult press ups which will engage the shoulders more.
You can also put just one foot up on the sofa behind you in order to do deeper lunges to train the legs.
One Arm Dips
Another way you can do one armed dips is to sit by the arm of the sofa and then lift yourself as high up on one side as you can for several reps before moving on to the next one.
Normally these are done hanging, but I just discovered that they work fairly well when sitting in a chair too. Simply bring your knees up in an attempt to touch your chest then put them back down. Repeat. This will train your lower abs.
To do these, simply push down on your leg with one hand while sitting, and then push against your hand with your foot to go up on tip toes, then slowly lower it while still fighting against the force of your hand. That’s one calf raise. To make this better you can go down further by having your foot on the edge of a book or a plank of wood.
Of course lying on the couch you can also do various other exercises such as sit ups and press ups – really anything that you could do on the floor. Particularly suited here is to do leg raises while lying down – as you can use the arm behind your head to grip onto to help leverage your legs up.
Using Other Objects
There are also some exercises you can do with things around the house while on the couch. For instance if you have a football or basketball you can train your thighs and hips. Simply place the ball between your knees and then squeeze as hard as you can to squash it as far as possible. Repeat for several repetitions. Likewise you can train your forearms by simply squeezing a smaller ball.
There are plenty of things that lend themselves to training sat down – whether that be on a weights bench or on a sofa. You can sit there and do shoulder presses, bicep curls (isolation curls by curling between your knees) and more. Now you really have no excuse.