You want a Super Bowl workout? I have seen numerous Super Bowl Workouts posted to Facebook this week, and I can only shake my head in disbelief. Why? And for what benefit? Here is one from a writer at one of my favorite magazines. Exercises are assigned to specific game time milestones. The average length of Super Bowl broadcasts has been 3 hours, 35 minutes over the past two decades, according to Nielsen Holdings NV. A sporadic 3 and a half hour workout?
For what benefit?
What are the physiological benefits of this workout? Improved fitness – none. Improved strength – maybe for the significantly deconditioned. Some movement is better than no movement, yes.
What are the psychological benefits? Individuals will feel better for having done something good for themselves. This may be offset by compensatory eating, but that is honestly to be expected. Individuals will feel less guilt for overindulging at the Super Bowl food buffet. Individuals will be lead to believe that they are doing something to improve their fitness levels, to only later be disappointed by a lack of results.
But wait, holding a plank for the 2-minute warning will improve my core strength! FALSE. Strength is built during the initial engagement of the muscles and coming into the plank. Research supports that maximum benefit is at 30 seconds and that holding a plank for anything more will not exponentially increase strength (www.absrevealed.com). So – – – I will let you decide.
A Super Bowl workout could do more harm than good. Misleading individuals to do something that they believe is good for them but yields no results will lead to greater frustrations in the long term. The best way to encourage others is to provide them with workouts that work.
There is also a risk of injury and overtraining. Have you already worked out today? To you plan to workout tomorrow? Too many touchdowns in the game and tomorrow’s workout will suffer.
Digestive discomfort and complications. Are you mixing this workout with your Super Bowl snacks? Here is to nausea!
Distraction. Are you watching the game for enjoyment? You are going to miss a great deal over the game if you are focused on your workout. Conversely, if you are focused on the game rather than your lunge kicks – you risk injury and/or wasted effort. So why not simply enjoy the game?
My suggested alternatives
1. Place the chip bowl in the kitchen. Allow yourself only one chip at a time and you must return fully to your seat on the couch before you can eat said chip. Ridiculous? Studies have shown that those who stand up frequently have lower BMI than those who remain sedentary. So there’s a benefit – – –
2. Complete a few rounds of Tabata during a series of commercial breaks. Research has proven that you only need four minutes to improve your fitness. Do this for one or more commercial breaks (and maybe a little into the game as commercial breaks will be 2-3 minutes) and then enjoy the rest of the game!
3. Workout during halftime. Halftime will give you a good solid time to workout – a workout that will yield results and not interfere with your watching enjoyment.
4. Workout during any other time, for no more than 75 minutes (or risk diminishing returns).
Working out and being healthy should not distract from the opportunity to enjoy life. You want to watch the game? Enjoy it, socialize, eat a modest snack. There is NO research that supports the ridiculousness of these workouts. DO NOT buy into them.
You do not care about the Super Bowl? I suppose you can use this workout to feed your exercise and/or adrenaline addiction – but remember you will get no return on this investment.
Sure, you will burn more calories than if you sit on the couch the whole time, but this falls within the myths and presumptions of what can improve fitness and health.