The Checkup: Your New Fitness Routine: Walking in Place During TV Commercials

A new study shows it's actually a pretty good workout.

Photo from iStockphoto

• I’m all about fitting in a few minutes of calorie-torching around everyday activities. After all, not everyone has hours and hours to spend at the gym each week. Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville ran a study recently to see if walking in place or around the house during television commercials could be a good workout. They recruited 23 adults for the study, who represented a range of body types, from normal to obese. They found that walking in place during the commercial breaks of hourlong TV programs added up to about 25 minutes of walking and an average of 148 calories burned; the subjects took an average of 2,111 steps in that time. By contrast, sitting and doing nothing while watching TV for an hour burned only 81 calories. So think about it: say you watch three hours of TV a night. You could get in 75 minutes of exercise and burn about 450 calories—without missing a minute of that Law & Order marathon.

• Here’s a bit of a fun fact with the 2012 Summer Olympics just a few months away: Researchers at Penn State found that sprinters have different foot structure than us regular folks. The results of the study, which looked at the bone and tendon lengths of eight sprinters and eight nonsprinters, concluded that sprinters have significantly longer big toes and metatarsals and significantly shorter Achilles tendons than nonsprinters. More details here.

• Ladies, would you love it or hate it if your man busted out in song while you’re lying in the hospital, about to have a baby, and having contractions? I can’t imagine my sense of humor would be at its best, but bravo for this new mom, who got a kick out of her husband’s impromptu baby-delivery rap. Using the beeping from the fetal heart monitor to keep the beat, dad-to-be Charles McDaniel started rapping about everything from the cervix to dilation to … trash cans. Oh, and he taped the whole thing. Watch the video here.