I have good news. You don’t have to spend everyday in a gym to receive the health benefits of exercise.
Don’t get too excited, though; that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook completely. The rules haven’t changed. The ACSM guidelines for exercise are still 30 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week, but what has become accepted is that daily activities of life can fulfill exercise requirements.
The definition of physical activity thus exercise is “any body movement that works your muscles and uses more energy than you use when you’re resting.”(National Heart Lung and Blood Institute). For general health one should engage in physical activity that elicits at least 150-200 calories per day. This calorie burn can come from daily activities like walking, grocery shopping, and playing with your children.
The fall is an opportune time to rev up your calorie burn through daily chores. There’s a lot to be done before winter- removing leaves from the gutters, gardening, cleaning the house in preparation for holiday parties and guests, and cutting fire wood for freezing temperatures. You can feel that you’re working hard, but we all like to see the numbers.
Harvard Medical School devised a simple to use chart that shows the average calorie burn for 30 minutes of physical activity. A 155 lb. person can burn an average of 149 calories walking at 3.5 miles per hour in 30 minutes, but can burn that same amount gardening or raking the lawn.
If you can’t get to the gym or go about your daily exercise program this holiday season, because you have to prepare for guests, you’re still creating a caloric deficit. Cleaning at a moderate intensity burns 167 calories on average, while food shopping for the upcoming dinner party burns about 130 calories in 30 minutes.
While all these additional perks are great for general health, it’s important to remember that you need to work at a higher intensity to increase your cardiorespiratory fitness (work between 65% and 90% of maximum heart rate) and of course achieve weight loss.
Weight loss is based on the simple rule that more calories must be burned than consumed. While it sounds easy this can be extremely difficult since many people overestimate calories burned during exercise and underestimate the calories in our meals.
If you’re a fan of the television program the Biggest Loser you may have seen a high-tech device called the BodyBugg. This device is a “state-of-the-art calorie management system.” It tracks the numbers of calories burned throughout the entire day, and can even be worn while you sleep. The BodyBugg has proven to be over 90% accurate. By wearing the BodyBugg on your arm the sensors monitor your motion, steps, galvanic skin response, skin temperature, and heat flux to accurately measure calories expanded.
The calories burned are only one half of the equation. Through a web based program you can manually log your food intake. If the calories burned exceeds the calories consumed you should lose weight if you are logging accurately. The nutritional component is very easy to use. You can even set up custom meal plans or use the suggested meal plans.
The BodyBugg can encourage you to engage in physical activity more often as you view a numeric result and work harder in all forms- even daily chores since the harder you work the more calories you burn. For more information about BodyBugg visit www.24hourfitness.com.
Life doesn’t ever seem to slow down, but at least you’re doing something good for your health by moving more to keep up!