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How Life's Daily Tasks Can Work for You

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us have become preoccupied with the need to move more. At times that can be frustrating as we try to wedge exercise into the daily schedule, but now a new idea is emerging.  Non-exercise activities may help us burn energy when we are not sleeping, working, eating or actually exercising.

These non-exercise activities can be as simple as making the bed or vacuuming, or as automatic as doing isometric stretches while seated at a desk. 

Why Bother?

This may sound like a lot of effort, but the American Heart Association says most people do not meet the recommended weekly dose of 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise, plus two sessions of muscle strengthening activity. These are exercise benefits that we all need in order to prevent heart attacks and lower the risk of depression and physical disabilities.

Making It Happen

It might be easier than you think if you simply scan a typical day and start listing all of the things that you do.

  • Wash the dog or the car
  • Trim the bushes
  • Vacuum the house
  • Tote and load the laundry
  • Buy and tote home the weekly groceries
  • Scrub the floors and counters
  • Clean the bathrooms

This list can be endless. Make your own and see how you are spending more energy every day. Then factor that in to your activity estimates to see where you stand. If you skip tasks or get someone else to do them, they don't count. These tasks are called "active living," and they might really help you live better and longer.

Getting Specific

Researchers say two adults of the same weight can burn 350 more calories a day by getting rid of labor-saving devices and moving all day long. Thirty minutes on a stair machine will burn 223 calories for a 155-pound person. Moving around the office uses up three calories per minute. Walking and talking on the phone could make these numbers count. Climbing stairs uses seven calories per minute.

Next, Avoid the Chairs at Work

Harvard researchers say we spend about 40 percent of our daily awake time, about 16 hours, in a chair. Instead they say, "Act like that constantly moving kid in the second grade who drove the teacher crazy. Throw a ball, pace while on the phone, take stairs, wiggle on agility balls, do random under-the-desk movements such as stepping or swiveling, schedule walking meetings, and alternate between sitting and standing."

Choose Your Course

Ask yourself what you do all day that could be done differently with a little more elbow grease. Walk, bike, clean, tote, and carry more and sit less. Then enjoy the difference in your body and your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spring, Tex. 

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