Sarah Harradine is a Personal Trainer focusing on strength and functional training, fitness blogger, and massive Marvel nerd. You’ll either find her coaching clients at Train Manchester or appreciating a finely crafted meme or two at home.
Let’s be realistic: if you have a goal of looking like Arnie or running like Mo, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve it sitting at a console. If your goals are more health-related, like improving your posture, not getting out of breath running for the bus, and generally feeling better day-to-day, then there are definitely a couple of things you can do to help if you can commit to doing them for 30 minutes a day. Check out these tips below and implement them next time you sit down at your console!
- Get A Stationary Bike
It’s tricky to concentrate on both gaming and working out, so by doing something more mindless by pedalling you can still do well on your game. Set up your bike in front of your console, sit on it, and pedal while you game. Burn around 300 calories per hour or possibly even more – stressful gaming moments will raise your heart rate and encourage you to put your foot down even more! You can usually pick a stationary bike up on Freecycle or for a few quid on Gumtree, so it’ll barely eat into any precious game budget.
2. Use Breaks For HIIT
In between COD matches, clear some space and get moving. You want bang-for-your-buck stuff here like jump squats, plyometric lunges, decline push-ups, mountain climbers and burpees to bring your heart rate up. Try 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds rest, as many times over as you can bear.
3. Use Isometric Holds For Strength
Isometric holds involve contracting your muscles without moving them, so are ideal if you need to hold your body still whilst wielding a controller. Try 30 seconds of plank 3 times over, building up to 60 second holds, ensuring your core is braced the entire time. Wall sits would work too – use your legs to brace yourself against the wall in a seated position and see how long you can hold. These take more concentration than you think so maybe save this for chilled RPGs, and they can momentarily raise your blood pressure, so if you have high blood pressure anyway then proceed with caution.
4. Gamify It
Turn it into a game and make it competitive. Set a goal of playing Xbox Fitness or Shape Up on the Xbox One for 10 minutes, 3 times a day before you start playing any other game, then that’s a decent amount of exercise ticked off before you get stuck into a gaming binge.
5. Set Yourself A Walking Alarm
Bad news: research shows that even if you’re active for 30, even 60 minutes a day, if you don’t keep moving for the rest of the day too you have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and other metabolic diseases. We were made to roam miles, scavenging and gathering (think completing an Assassin’s Creed quest) so our modern habit of being seated most of the day just isn’t healthy. Set yourself an alarm every hour to pause your console and walk around the house, grab a glass of water, use the restroom, and have a stretch. Even a couple of minutes an hour will make a long-term difference.
As with any exercise routine, consult your doctor before beginning. Would you give any of these movements a go, or do you have better ideas? Let us know in the comments and we’ll give them a go! (and don’t forget to check out boohooMAN’s new Activewear range here!)