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Jenny McCarthy works out with the TV on — is that a good idea?

Korin Miller
Writer
Jenny McCarthy (Photo: Getty Images)

Jenny McCarthy is known for having a great figure, but she revealed in a new interview that her workout routine is surprisingly simple and relatable.

“I can’t run anymore; my bones hurt,” she told Fox News. “So all I do is an incline of 15 on a treadmill, and then I hold my hand weights, and I watch Game of Thrones or Housewives.” McCarthy said she also boxes while she walks uphill. “That’s all I can do for 45 minutes a day,” she added. “That’s all I have left in me.”

Exercise is known to have mental benefits, including a decreased risk of symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. But does working out in front of the TV — which so many people do — cancel out those benefits? It’s unlikely, experts say.

“There’s really no steadfast ruling on this,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The distraction of watching TV during a workout can help the time go faster and may even prompt people to work out longer, she says, pointing out that that this has “obvious physical benefits.” Research has shown that people who listen to music while exercising release endorphins that can help combat stress and depression, but this hasn’t been studied with TV, Wider says. “But certainly, if someone responds positively, to them it is likely to have the same mental benefits,” she adds.

If you were planning to watch TV anyway, getting in some exercise at the same time is definitely preferred to just sitting there, Susan Besser, a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Just keep this in mind, Besser says, that you may not work out as hard if you’re distracted by something on the show.

Of course, working out in front of the TV usually means you’re not working out super strenuously, Albert Matheny of SoHo Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition tells Yahoo Lifestyle. For those workouts, you really want to disconnect from your screen. “For more intense exercise in any form or lifting weights, you should be 100% focused on the exercise so you put forth a high level of effort and do so safely,” he says.

Still, it’s OK to work out in front of the TV if you’re doing relatively basic exercises like walking, running, or biking at a steady pace, Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Save more advanced, complex exercises for your non-TV watching workouts,” he says. 

It’s a good idea to mix things up and throw in a few workouts sans TV here and there. “You will 100% get better results from your workout, physically and mentally, if you disconnect, engage with your body, listen, and push yourself,” Matheny says.

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