By the time most Americans reach age 65, they have watched an average of nine years of sitcoms, infomercials, game shows, crime dramas and other television fare. This week, an estimated 7 million people are expected to participate in TV-Turnoff Week, a move supported by the American Medical Association and other organizations encouraging healthier lifestyles.
Here's a sampling of fit alternatives, in TV-sized chunks.
1Sitcom-free half-hour Take a brisk walk. It will lift your spirits without a laugh track -- plus deliver a dose of exercise effective in disease prevention.
2No-time-for-crime hour Dig into your closet and pull out some long-neglected sports gear, board game or other recreational pursuit you dropped because you were "too busy."
3Two hours without a made-for-TV movie Opt for a do-it-yourself steamy spa treatment you "never have time" for. Start with a hot foot soak, followed by a soothing mud mask and wind down with a candlelit bubble bath.
4Four hours of "Must-Not-See TV" Instead of sitting around the small screen with your friends or family eating, spend an evening preparing a healthy meal together. You can create your own memorable episode with unscripted conversation.
5TV-free week Give up four hours of daily TV and you could add more than 24 hours to every week: Learn to play a musical instrument, plant a garden, train for a 10K; plan a family reunion; or volunteer at a local school or shelter.
-- Karen-Lee Ryan