Everyday activities can deliver a workout


Published May 3, 2012 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

Q: I really do want to get into shape, but according to what I hear, I should be exercising every day for an hour. I try to get to the gym and do what I can to be more active, but I work all day and don’t get home until late, and by that time I am exhausted. Any suggestions for someone with a crazy schedule?

A: The first thing I would say is try not to feel defeated. When it comes to exercise, although you might feel as if you are falling short, this may not necessarily be the case. To determine whether you are getting the recommended amount of daily activity, you’ll need to look at all aspects.

Truth is, all movement requires some level of effort, making each one an important contribution to increased strength, stamina and calorie burning. Whether it’s cleaning the house, mowing the grass, washing the car, taking a brisk walk or riding a bike, the cumulative effect of adding more movement to your life will always pay off in terms of health benefits and weight loss.

To give you an idea of how many “out of the gym” calories you may be burning throughout the week, based on a 150-pound person, estimated calorie burn for a half hour of mowing with a push mower is about 220 calories, a self-propelled push mower about 170, and a riding mower 80. Pushing a lawnmower works the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves, while trimming, raking and sweeping are all great for working the arms.

Gardening is another way to burn extra calories. Thirty minutes of leisurely gardening burns 105 calories. Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns 125 calories, the same number used in 20 minutes of power yoga.

— Marjie Gilliam, Cox Newspapers