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Could 'binge watching' help you stick to New Year's fitness resolutions?

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First off, what is "binge watching?"

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It is a new phrase that captures the act of watching TV for long periods of time, usually of one show. Say for instance, catching an entire season of "Downtown Abbey" or "Sex in the City" in one night.

It may be the new normal, thanks to online services like Netflix and Xfinity On Demand, but in 2014 a surprising number of people are willing to get off the couch for all that TV viewing.

On Monday, Netflix, Inc. released a press release announcing intriguing results of a survey recently conducted by the company. Among 1,000 US Internet users, more than 50 percent of respondents were willing to exercise while binge watching instead of slouching on the couch.

In the same survey, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents agreed they would be more motivated to exercise if they had access to their favorite TV shows — on-demand and commercial-free —while working out.

Sitcoms come out on top as the favorite genre to watch while working up a sweat, with more than one in three (36 percent) choosing humor over serialized dramas (27 percent), Sci-Fi/fantasy (24 percent) or reality shows (20 percent).

That makes sense, as multiple studies show that watching entertainment working out makes people more likely to exercise for longer periods of time and stick with their fitness regimen.

Harley Pasternak, celebrity fitness expert and New York Times bestselling author, is working with Netflix to remind people how incorporating entertainment into your workout can jump start your New Year’s resolution.

“I call it the Netflix fitness effect,” said Pasternak. “My clients have been working out with Netflix for years. It makes cardio feel easier and less boring. Whether you’re watching at home doing resistance exercises or taking your tablet or phone to the gym, Netflix gives people an extra reason to sweat.”

Pasternak, whose superstar client roster includes Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, Megan Fox and many others, recommends his clients find a show they love and make a pact to only watch it while working out.

“Not only does it make your workouts easier, but you end up looking forward to them more,” Pasternak said. “If you can only watch 'Breaking Bad' when you're on the treadmill, you're going to find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day to workout.”

If you do hit the treadmill on a viewing bender, make sure you aren't resorting to stereotypical couch potato habits in between workouts. It will likely defeat the purpose and throw a wrench in your New Year's goals.

Don't forget to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.

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