Get Active from the Sidelines


Whether you’re a parent with kids who play sports, or an avid fan who likes watching football or hockey on TV, you’re apt to turn your attention to watching the action during the fall months. 

We Canadian adults already spend about 70 per cent of our waking hours being sedentary at work (Public Health Agency of Canada 2017) and we’re finding ways to be sedentary in our leisure time too. Watching sports is just another sedentary pastime, accompanied by extra snacking and drinking, and lots of sitting. In addition, many parents skip their own workouts to manage their kids’ demanding sports schedules. All this sitting contributes to poor health over the long term. 

Brody Thorne, vice president of personal training services with GoodLife Fitness, says Canadians don’t have to be sedentary on the sidelines. There are many ways to keep moving while taking in your favourite sports and supporting the athletes. He says harnessing the energy of a game and the drive of the athletes can be a major motivator.

Sweating on the sidelines

According to CANPLAY (2014-15), nearly eight in 10 kids between the ages of five and 19 participate in organized physical activities or sport. That leaves parents and guardians driving them to practices and games and sitting on the sidelines while their kids practice and play. 

Here are some ideas to get off the bench and get active: 

Keep sneakers in your car so you can walk or jog for 30 minutes during the game.

Sprint up and down the bleachers. If there are no bleachers, take along a jump rope, or bring your own basketball and shoot some hoops at an adjacent court.

Stand up. If all else fails, stand instead of sitting at the game. You can burn an extra 50 calories an hour, plus you’ll feel better after sitting all day at work.

Coach the team or get out and play with your kids during or between practices.

Take up a family sport or active pastime with your friends or family on evenings and weekends. For instance, walk the dog, go to a group fitness class, jog or hike, jump on your bikes or sign up for a boot camp.

Take classes with your kids. Instead of just watching the tae kwon do class, try signing up yourself. 

Kick yourself off the couch 

Football season is underway and basketball starts in October. What’s a sports fan to do? Instead of settling in for an afternoon of complete slothfulness, harness the players’ energy to inspire fitness moves in your living room. Here’s how: 

Make up your own game. Challenge yourself to do a series of exercises for each significant part of the game. For example, do 10 pushups or burpees for every goal or basket. Use time outs to do sit-ups, crunches or lunges and try to beat your number during each break. 

Move your exercise equipment in front of the TV and cycle or run on the treadmill you watch.

Set up circuits in your living room and do several rounds of lunges, squats, tricep dips, jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers and more.

Reward yourself for being active. Promise yourself some snacks if you can stay active for half the game. Or allow yourself to rest after 30 minutes of circuit exercises or living room cardio.



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