26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

PHOTO: Runners make their way through Queens during the 2011 ING New York City Marathon in New York, Nov. 6, 2011.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

If you plan on parking yourself in front of the tube this Sunday to cheer on the 48,000 runners who are running this year's New York City Marathon, expect to feel some guilt.

Those people trained for many moons and logged many a mile to make it to the starting line. You traveled mere inches to get to your couch.

Here, experts share 26.2 ways you can diminish non-runner's remorse so you can take your own small steps towards better health.

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26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

1.

If you order wings, ask for double the celery. As a crunchy, satisfying, low cal veggie, it cuts your snacking calorie count even if you add a dab of blue cheese dressing. - Workout DVD star,Jennifer Galardi.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

2.

Got an indoor bike or treadmill? Get on it! Even if you crawl along at 1-mile per hour, you'll still burn about 4 calories per minute. That's better than nothing. - Weight Watchers workout DVD star, Jennifer Cohen

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

3.

Use a couch cushion as a balance trainer. Place it on the floor, stand on it, do 12 squats. (Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up.) – J.C.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

4.

Give a traditional drinking game a healthy makeover. Instead of taking a chug every time you see, say a runner wearing a French Flag, do a set of pushups. – Gina Allchin, six-time marathon finisher, president of Health Trek, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

5.

Every time the leaders cross a mile marker, do a different strength exercise. Aim to do 26 different moves for a full-body workout. Here are five to start you off: lunge, pushup, chair dip, leg lifts and reverse crunches. - Fitness pro Sadie Lincoln

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

6.

For a stronger, tighter middle, do one set of planks or abdominal curls for every 20 minutes of the race you watch. If you stick with it for the entire broadcast, that's a little over 2 hours of TV, and six sets of core work. - Tom Holland, author of the Marathon Method. Tom has run 60 marathons and is running this Sunday

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

7.

Shoot for 26 minutes worth of cardio movement. Take on an extra 20 seconds for good measure. Walk in place, do jumping jacks or mountain climbers, skip some rope. You can do it all at once or a minute at a time, Just add it up. – T.H.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

8.

Runners often complain of tight hamstrings but couch potatoes can also suffer from the same affliction. If those hammies are feeling a bit bunchy, throw your foot up onto a low coffee table or a thick book and lean forward until you feel a strong pull travel up the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat twice with each leg. – T.H.

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26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

9.

Another thing couch dwellers and runners often have in common? Poor posture. A good stretch to counteract hunched shoulders: Sit or stand up tall with hands clasped behind your back. Keeping elbows locked, raise arms up until you feel a strong pull through the shoulders and chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat twice. If you don't have the flexibility to clasp your hands, hold onto a dish towel. - Personal trainer Jordan Ciambrone

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

10.

If you get overexcited while watching the race, take a moment of Zen. Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths. Studies show this helps lower blood pressure and slow heart rate, two physiological responses associated with relaxation. – J.C.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

11.

Just because marathoners rely on the carbs and salt in sports drinks to keep them chugging along, doesn't mean you should too. Save yourself from the 130 calories and 35 grams of sugar that a typical 20-ounce bottle of sports drink delivers and drink plain or flavored water instead. – Registered dietitian Alysa Bajenaru

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

12.

Marathoners also love to munch on protein bars to help replenish their muscles. Since you are doing more storing than replenishing while you're glued to the tube, resist the urge to bite into a 200 calorie plus energy bar. For a similar experience, try a light granola or fruit and nut bar. – A.B.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

13.

Every time a commercial comes on, do a set of a universal exercise, e.g., one that works many muscle groups at once. A lunge is a good example. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Step right foot forward a stride's length. When foot contacts floor, bend both knees until front thigh is parallel to the floor and back thigh is perpendicular to it. Stand back up and repeat with left leg. Alternate for a total of 12 reps each leg. Works butt, hips, thighs, lower legs and core. – Michele Olson, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

14.

Getting some sympathy knee pains from watching all those miles? Sit on the floor and do two sets of 20 front leg raises, then lie on the floor and do two sets of side leg raises, which strengthen the weak outer thigh muscles often associated with knee problems. – M.O.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

15.

Dial down your marathon munching session by softening up the lighting and turning on some mellow music. A Cornell University study found that snackers consumed 20 percent less under these conditions. – Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

16.

Use beverage breaks as an opportunity to boost your antioxidants. Repeatedly plunging a tea bag into hot water helps release more antioxidants than simply dropping it in and leaving it there. And, as a Perdue University study found, squeezing a wedge of lemon into your tea stabilizes the antioxidants in both the tea and lemon to increase absorption. – C.S.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

17.

Mute the TV and turn up some lively tunes. Marching in place through three songs equals one mile of walking. Hey, you're almost a marathoner too. – Walking expert, Leslie Sansone

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

18.

One of the best ways to avoid snacking is to keep your hands busy. Knit, sew, text, wave a flag -- do whatever it takes to keep your hands moving and out of the chip bowl. – Sarah Bowen Shea, marathoner and co-author of Run Like A Mother

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

19.

The race lasts for two hours plus. That gives you time to keep one ear on the action as you walk around and clean up. You'll burn 4 to 6 calories a minute and besides, that's time spent not snacking. And just to make it more interesting, every time you pick up a kid's toy like a jump rope or Hula Hoop, take it for a spin. - SBS

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

20.

The average marathoner takes more than 50,000 steps during the course of a race. You may not come anywhere close to that on an average day but you should aim for at least 10,000 steps, which, in some studies, is about the number of daily steps it takes to prevent weight gain. Use a pedometer or activity tracker such as a Nike Fuel Band or Fitbit to help monitor your movement. - SBS

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

21.

Toss the chips and make your own using sliced sweet potatoes baked in oil and butter. Rather than tossing out that Halloween pumpkin, roast it up for a tasty and nutritious treat. Consider roasting the pumpkin seeds too. True, at around 550 calories per 4-ounce serving, they're relatively calorific but they're also loaded with antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats. – Jonny Bowden, author of the 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

22

Pay attention to the form of the top runners. They're running technique is very relaxed. Their breath management is efficient. And unlike the average runner, their posture is usually perfect. Learn from this and try to copy it when you sit, walk and jog. – Workout DVD star and author, Ellen Barrett

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

23

Don't just sit there. Jiggle your leg. Drum your fingers. Snap a rubber band. Studies show that fidgeting while you sit can triple your calories burned over the course of a day. You won't burn as much as the runners you're cheering on but every little bit counts. – Jay Shafran, marathoner and Vice President at Medifit, Inc.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

24

Do you view a runner's meaty calves with envy? Jump up off the sofa and try some simple calf raises. Stand on the edge of a stair with heels hanging off the edge. Hold onto the rail or the wall for support. Stand up on your tip toes as high as you can. Lower down until your heels are lower than the stair for a bonus stretch. Repeat 10 to 20 times. - Jason Karp, running coach, marathoner and author of "Marathon for Dummies." Karp is running this Sunday's marathon.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

25

Flip through some running magazines, books and catalogs to get inspired. You'll also gain some good intel on how to start a running program. Even if running isn't your thing, this may give you the push you need to rise up from the couch and get moving. – J.K.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

26.

Think about training for next year's marathon. Seriously. A half marathon, 10K or 3-miler are all good goals too.

26.2 Ways to Get Healthy While Watching the Marathon

.2

Now lace up those running shoes and get out there. – The Health Team at ABC News

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