Sports Fans’ Fitness Declines with Every Passing Game

( [email protected] ) Jun 11, 2004 03:19 PM EDT

Have you ever heard the term “armchair athlete?” You know who I’m referring to—the professional sport-watching athletes that talk the talk but can’t walk the walk!

Their sport consists of snacking on unhealthy foods, yelling at the television, changing channels and scratching the occasional itch. Their resistance training consists of many repetitions of lifting a beer can while their aerobic training is completed by occasionally getting up to go to the bathroom.

Needless to say, this type of lifestyle can eventually have a detrimental effect on one’s health, especially if it’s coupled with little or no participation in a regular exercise routine.

Inactivity on the rise

With the Stanley Cup just finishing, the NBA finals just starting, endless golf tournaments and the tennis season just beginning, it’s safe to say that the chances of us diehard sports fans getting out for a jog or a workout are decreasing every day. Based on an article published by the American Heart Association, the following statistics outline the urgency of promoting active lifestyles.

Among Americans age 18 and older, the following populations are sedentary (have no leisure-time physical activity):

Non-Hispanic whites: 32% of men and 36% of women;

Non-Hispanic blacks: 44% of men and 55% of women;

Hispanics: 49% of men and 57% of women;

Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islanders: 31% of men and 46% of women.

As we all know, obesity is on the rise and becoming an epidemic. Along with a poor diet with an over-consumption of sugars and saturated fats, inactivity is a major culprit for our poor health status. With all of the media attention focused on health, it’s alarming how many of us continue to lead unhealthy lifestyles.

Benefits of healthy living

For those of you who exercise regularly and eat vitamin and nutrient-rich foods most of the time, there’s nothing to feel guilty about. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and giving yourself a treat; as long as you’re disciplined the rest of the time. Some like to call this the 80:20 rule. However, for you couch potatoes and armchair athletes, it’s time to take control of your health.

There are many healthier choices available to you, so you can have your cake and eat it too while watching the “big game”. Follow these simple yet effective tips to maintain and improve your health status.

Nutrition tips

Choose healthier snacks such as air-popped popcorn topped with olive oil, pretzels or vegetables with lowfat dip.

Drink water with lemon juice instead of sugary sodas or alcoholic beverages.

Prior to the game, make sure you have a complete nutritious meal with a 40:30:30 combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Watching the game on an empty stomach with the wrong foods at arm’s reach can be dangerous.

Exercise tips

Work out prior to sitting down to watch the game so your time in front of the tube is your recovery time.

Get up and stretch every 10 to 15 minutes. This will keep your circulation going and decrease your chances of an overuse injury to your lower back.

Try a couple of bodyweight exercises during every commercial.

For a full exercise program, try one of our Home TV-Watching Programs designed to be completed during every commercial. For every hour of television you watch, you can complete 12 to 15 minutes of health-boosting exercise.