If the past year of lockdown cooking has tipped the scales in the wrong direction, the punch list of chores that homeowners invariably create each Spring may help get weight and fitness back on track. Daily activities like walking the dog or mowing the lawn burn calories and help older adults stay mobile and preserve muscle but cleaning, gardening, or painting the house can also boost fitness and keep extra weight off.
According to the Mayo Clinic Diet, everyday movements can add up to significant health benefits including the prevention of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, and some cancers. Although structured regular exercise such as swimming, cycling, walking, strength training, balance, and stretching is beneficial, moving more with daily chores or activities can also add up to big health wins.
By standing at your kitchen counter to work on a computer or doing some form of exercise while watch television, older adults can stay active and independent longer while lowering their risk for chronic illness. Deep cleaning floors, windows, the basement, or the garage can boost the heart rate and improve cardiovascular health. Wash the car, bike ride with the grandkids, dance with your spouse, or take the stairs a few extra times – moving more will burn calories and help mitigate all the freshly baked sourdough bread.
Shoveling snow in the winter can burn about 400 calories for the average 150-pound person, but Spring and Summer activities like chopping, carrying, and stacking wood, farming, raking, picking fruits and vegetables, or vacuuming and mopping for an hour can also burn plenty and boost fitness. For the best results, choose activities that you enjoy and will be more likely to continue. Start off slowly if you have been inactive with just 10 minutes, and gradually increase intensity and duration over time.
If you are spending time outdoors this Spring and Summer, don’t forget to choose a cooler time of day to garden or be active. Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and dress in lightweight clothing.
Read more about how to spend less time sitting and more time moving by following this link to the National Academy of Sports Medicine.