Pritikin Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

On Super Bowl Sunday, set up a friendly but feisty competition!

We call it the "Pritikin Super Bowl Fitness Challenge." It was created by Pritikin Fitness Director Scott Danberg, whose life’s mission is cajoling the rest of us off the couch (and what a great job he does!).

Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

Get tons of fitness tips for making Super Bowl Sunday not only fun but healthy. You’ll wake up Monday morning saying, “Wow, I had a blast, and I don’t think I gained a pound!”

Here’s the Pritikin Super Ball Fitness Challenge game plan. (Print out several copies for your guests.)

Divide everyone into two teams. For maximum rowdiness and fun, do your best to put each guest on the team that he or she is rooting for on TV.

Celebration Touchdown Dance
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

Each time one of the Super Bowl teams scores a touchdown, the same team in your living room does a Celebration Touchdown Dance, and (here’s the best part) the opposing team must copy the dance! Go all out! Include chanting of your team’s name, arm movements symbolizing letters of your team’s name, dance it up… live it up. Then kick the competition off the couch and have them copy it. (No shortcuts allowed!)

Field Goal Squats
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

Each time your team scores a field goal, get up from the sofa for 10 body weight squats. The opposing team then performs 15! For guests who have (or say they have) joint pain with squats, they can do seated leg marches instead.

Fumble Ball Push-Ups
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

For each fumbled ball, the retrieving team gets down on the floor for 5 push-ups; the opposition team does 10 push-ups! (Push-up-challenged guests can do wall, table, or from-the-knees push-ups.)

Interception Arm Circles
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

For each interception, the retrieving team stands up and spreads out for 15 forward arm circles; the opposition gets up for 15 forward and 15 back arm circles! (For the arm-circle-challenged, any pain-free range of movement using the arms will do.)

Foul Marches
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

For each foul that results in a penalty of yards, the non-penalized team stands and marches in place for one minute. The penalized team hoofs it for two minutes! Seated leg marching is fine for those with ambulatory challenges. (Alcohol-induced challenges don’t count!)

Quarterback Sack Crunches
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

For each quarterback sack, the team delivering the sack falls to the floor for 10
abdominal crunches; the opposition then drops for 20 abdominal crunches. (Crunch-challenged teammates can do seated straight leg lifts.)

Half Time Whossiers
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

At half time, the team winning dances to a Who song (“Awesome band for us baby boomers” laughs Coach Scott). The losing team dances to two Who songs.

If the game is tied, everyone dances two songs!

And during half time, everyone takes a few minutes to stretch and enjoy healthy snacks like our healthy burrito bar to fuel up for the second half.

Grand Finale Celebration Dance
Super Bowl Fitness Challenge

At the end of the game, the winning team performs a rousing Grand Finale Celebration Dance that the losing team – yep, you guessed it – must match!

Every movement counts

Do you think all of these get-up-from-the-couch activities are worthless? Think again. A growing body of research is finding that the more we sit, even those of us who work out an hour every day, the more health risks we run.

A large analysis just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, for example, found that increased sitting time was linked with significant increases in risk for all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality, as well as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes incidence. Working out for an hour or so every day blunted — but did not completely eliminate — the excess risks associated with an overall sedentary lifestyle.

Summed up study author David Alter, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto:  “Exercising one hour per day should not give us the… peace of mind to remain seated for the remaining 23.”

Scientists agree that the sweaty hour we expend at the gym is certainly important for our health, but so are additional movements the other hours of our waking day, like getting up from the computer every half hour and walking around. Or even just standing and stretching. Anything that gets our derrieres up is a very good thing because a prolonged period of inactivity, like three straight hours on the sofa watching a football game, slows down our metabolic processes.

Into “shut-down” mode, for instance, goes an important enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which normally ferries fat from the bloodstream into our muscles. When this enzyme isn’t doing its job, the fat just sits – and accumulates – in our bloodstream. Not good. Over time, that fat can damage arteries and lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular ills.

Noshing During the Super Bowl

A burrito bar is a great way to please everyone. Your condiments can range from ground beef and regular sour cream for the full-fat eaters to all sorts of tasty, healthier choices. Super Bowl Burrito Bar

So, take advantage of movement opportunities any and all times of the day. Going shopping? Park at the far end of parking lots. Seeing a client? Take stairs, not elevators. Need to make a phone call? Walk while you talk. Watching TV? Put your remote on “pause” every 20 minutes and get up and march in place for two minutes.

Maybe even ditch the remote (as beloved as it is).

These little bits of extra activity can add up to major health benefits. Or, in ever-enthusiastic Coach Scott Danberg‘s words: “Have fun, stay fit, eat healthy… Go, Team Pritikin! !”

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