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Using Tumblr to Get Fit (and Happy!)

July 14, 2014

Photos by f—kyeahmovieworkouts.tumblr.com

Hello, my name is Lauren and I’m a television addict. My obsession with TV began when I was a teenager — I was depressed and streamed shows as a coping mechanism. Following Meredith Grey’s dark and twisted life on “Grey’s Anatomy,” watching reruns of “Friends,” and indulging in Disney Channel sitcoms (before I’m judged: Zac Efron had just come onto the scene with “High School Musical”) was a form of escapism from my daily life. For those few hours that I sat on the couch staring at a screen, mean girls, grades, and all the other interminable issues that plague teenagers, recessed into the deep parts of my brain and only emerged once I inevitably returned to reality.

Now, as an adult, while I’ve mostly dealt with my demons and don’t use fictional dramas as a coping mechanism, I’ll still occasionally fall back on the comforts of Olivia Pope’s political problems and affair with the President on “Scandal” for consolation during dark times. But recently, I discovered another way to turn my somewhat unhealthy fixation into an activity that benefits my wellbeing: Exercising throughout my favorite shows.

Tumblr offers so many infographics that outline ways to work out while simultaneously watching TV. For example, an “Orange Is the New Black” fitness guide instructs binge-watchers to execute 10 jumping jacks each time there’s a flashback scene. And a “True Blood” page similarly mandates 15 pushups whenever a pair of fangs comes out. 

So, when I feel myself withdrawing and slipping into a cycle of mild depression (I can usually self-diagnose my level of sadness by the number of minutes spent watching TV), I’m now able to turn my toxic dependence into something beneficial for my body and mental health. Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression — and there’s nothing more regular than primetime TV.