By Jen Rini | The News Journal | June 28, 2015
Ever feel like swapping a beer and popcorn for a dumbbell during a “Game of Thrones” marathon?
We know: The short answer is probably not. And especially not after the season five finale two weeks ago.
As satisfying as it is to binge-watch your favorite television show, studies have shown the more physical activity we can pack in the day the better.
One study reported by the New York Times looked what happened if people got more than the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week for people between the ages of 21 and 98.
Researchers found that people lived longer and had lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer if they increased their activity three to five times the recommended average. That’s about 450 minutes a week. Breaking it down, that would be about an hour and a half of physical activity five days a week.
It can be difficult to fit in that in between work, family and leisure, but making it fun can help achieve it.
We asked Delaware-area fitness experts in the community to show routines inspired by popular TV shows. All are less than a half hour. Maybe they’ll inspire you to think of some of your own to complement the essence of your favorite show.
Orange is the New Black
You come back from prison ripped, right? At least that is what Piper Chapman, lead of the Netflix drama “Orange is the New Black” wanted as a bonus when she was sentenced to 15 months in a woman’s prison in New York for transporting drug money for an old girlfriend.
Instead of pumping iron every day, though, she faced awkward interactions with her ex, lots of fights and had to get creative with shower shoes.
At least she could run on the prison’s track to blow off some steam in a couple episodes.
If you’re a fan of OITNB, you’ll know that the incarcerated ladies have limited space in their bunks, which makes working out tough.
But all you really need is 6 square feet of space, a chair and your body to feel some burn, said Jessica Lewis, a nutrition consultant and tai chi instructor with the Hockessin Chiropractic Centre. Lewis created “The 6 Square Feet Workout,” copywrited in 2007, specifically for incarcerated women at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle.
It combines cardiovascular and strength-training exercises to get your muscles moving even in a tight space. It’s something that Piper, Red and even Pennsatucky could try. And you can too.
“Why can’t anybody do this?” Lewis said. “You can just move your body.”
Start with a five minute stretching warm-up doing heel stretches against the wall, marching in place, side leg swings and lunges to stretch your hips and legs. Then get to the nitty-gritty with a series of 10 movements. You don’t need any props like kettlebells or dumbbells. Repeat each movement as much as you can for about a minute, Lewis said. Here are some examples:
Squats: “Squatting can be as simple as rising from a chair,” she said. Use your thigh muscles instead of your knees to lift yourself up and press your weight into your heels. Then you can try the move without a chair. If you are feeling exceptionally limber try the “prisoner squat.” Face a wall and place arms out so it looks like you are a referee making a touchdown motion with your hands near your ears. Then squat as low as you can, pushing into your heels.
Hip bridges: These exercises activate the hip muscles and gluts. Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet facing the floor. Push your pelvis up and squeeze your bum muscles together. Increase the burn by dropping your pelvis slightly, not to the floor, and bringing it back up. You can try the move with your stabilized on a chair and still do the same squeeze and lift.
Outer hip raises: Start on the floor on your right side, legs on top of one another. Bend your right elbow so your head rests in your right hand. Flex your left foot out so your toe is pointed toward your nose and lift the leg as high as you can, keeping the legs straight. Repeat on the other side. You will feel the muscles in your outer thigh and glutes tensing up.
Door lean arm rows: Keep your arm straight and shoulder width and hold the edge of the door frame. Bend your arm slightly, so you lean into the door and feel a stretch in your bicep and triceps arm muscles.
Supine fly: This exercise works the chest and arm muscles. The arms are about 15 pounds each, Lewis said. Sit in a chair and try raising both arms straight up so they are even with your shoulders. You can hold the position or move the arms slightly up and down.
Game of Thrones
Play the show’s instrumental theme song in your head as you are going through this workout and channel your favorite character. Pretend you’re with Arya in Braavos mastering the art of assassination. Or up your pseudo-swordfighting skills so they are on par with Bronn and Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer.
You can use household items for some of these kick-boxing inspired exercises, says Jack Murphy, owner of Jack’s Gym in Newark.
Grab a broom, baseball bat, dumbbell or any hardback copy of George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” book series, which inspired the show.
The workout is quick, Murphy said, about 15 minutes from start to finish. So you can repeat it a few times during an episode.
Ride the dragon: Start in a squat position with your knees bent, pushing your weight into your heels. Go full-on Queen of Dragons and stretch your arms out in front of you like you like you are gripping a dragon’s scales. Your legs will feel the burn, but to maximize the movement twist from left to right from your core to strengthen the abdominal muscles. “It’s working everything,” Murphy said. Hold the position for about two minutes (or build up to that).
Kingslayer: Work on your king assassination skills with this one. You’ll also need some props. Use a baseball bat or broom handle. Hold the object over your head and then swing it to the left 100 times. Switch sides and do 100 more reps. Then try bringing the object from behind your back to the front over your head another 100 times. You will feel the triceps and back muscles working as you swing the object from back to front.
White Walker stab: In addition to dragon and knights, the series also has battle scenes with crazy, fast multiplying zombies. They can only be killed with dragon glass or Valerian steel. Use a dumbbell as your dragon glass, or a can of soup. Get in a straight position standing up, with your knees slightly bent. Punch with the dumbbell forward straight, or twist your arm slightly toward you as you punch for added burn. Do 100 strikes on each arm. “The Night’s Watch will be training with this next season,” joked Sean Strauss, a kickboxer who demonstrated the moves.
Kick Tyrion: This move is named for Tyrion, a character on “Game of Thrones”, who is from one of the most elite families in the Kingdom. He is a dwarf and therefore the butt of many jokes. Many people on the show want to give him a swift kick due to his sarcastic tongue. For this move, get down on your hands and knees and keep your back straight. Then kick one leg out to the side, trying to keep it straight with your foot either flexed or pointed. Hold for 15 or 20 seconds. Repeat eight to 10 times on each side.
Rise of White Walkers: Like any good zombie, these creatures rise from the dead. To emulate them, start by laying on your back. Try to stand up without using your hands. Tighten your core and adjust your legs to stand. Do at least 10 to 20 of those in a row.
House of Cards
“House of Cards” fanatics know lead character Francis Underwood is all about the games. The political drama tells the story of the rise of power couple Francis and Claire Underwood. Played charmingly deviously by Kevin Spacey, Francis will do anything to rise up the political chain. Literally anything.
Take a cue from the show, and turn your workout into a game. All you need is your body and deck of cards, says Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness in Newark.
Each of the four suits represents a different exercise and the number on the cards represents a different number of reps. The workout begins when you flip the first card over and ends when you finish the last card. Or whenever you want to be done, DeCaire said.
“It’s going to keep things interesting,” he said.
You never know what is coming next. Face cards represent 10 repetitions; aces are 20 reps. One tip: shuffle cards really well before you begin.
“It gets you out of your comfort zone,” DeCaire said.
He recommends these exercises to start, but you can swap in whatever exercise you’d like to challenge yourself with. Do as many as the card says.
Diamonds/Squat jumps: Bend your knees to get into a squat position with your weight in your heels. Then jump straight up and land with your knees bent in the same position.
Hearts/Pushups: Get down in a plank position, with your hands shoulder distance apart on the balls of your feet. Drop your hips so they are even with your back. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and slowly bend your elbows. Keep your elbows glued to your side. Then push back up. Repeat.
Spades/Double knee grabs: Start by sitting on your bum with your legs bent in front of you slightly raised. Straighten the legs out and keep your abdominal muscles tight. When you bring your legs back in grab your knees.
Clubs/Mountain Climbers: Again, start in that plank position on your hands and feet with the back straight. Keeping that straight line, move your knee forward into a lunge position. Then switch and do the same lunge with the other leg. Alternating back and forth will give you a full-body workout.
Jen Rini can be reach at (302) 324-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @JenRini on Twitter.Continue Reading