Quick quiz: Name 3 things you can do in 20 minutes to lose weight and to reduce your risk of heart disease. (Jeopardy music playing…da, da, da…) If you answered mowing the lawn, walking the dog, and cleaning the house, you would be right. “Huh? How can that be?”, you may ask. “That’s not exercise”, you may say. Well, believe it or not, it actually is. There are a number of things you can add to your daily routine to help you burn calories and lose weight. They are small, simple steps that will help you burn a few more calories every day if you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
In order for 155lb person to burn approximately 50 calories/day, he or she could:
- Clean the house: 15 minutes of doing the dishes (rather than using the dishwasher), folding and putting laundry away, sweeping and/or dusting can make a dent if it becomes part of your everyday routine.
- Park farther away: Add 15 minutes of light walking (in comfortable shoes of course) and burn nearly 50 calories.
- Play with your kids and/or pets: 15 minutes a day would be good for all of you. A walk would also be a beneficial alternative.
- Take the stairs: Even walking up and down stairs burns calories. You can burn 50 calories if you can find a way to use the stairs for 10 minutes.
- Mow your lawn: Believe it or not, 10 minutes of mowing (push) burns over 50 calories. There are a number of other outdoor hobbies, such as gardening/weeding, which can achieve the same results.
- Get out of your desk chair: Take the scenic route to the copier, restroom, your assistant’s desk or coffee machine. Don’t stay idle at your desk all day.
OK, so this may help me lose weight, but how can that help my heart?” Researchers have found that even a small amount of exercise helps your heart, and that benefit goes up as the amount of activity goes up. They found that people who did as little as 20 minutes of activity a day, like those above, had a 14% lower risk of heart disease than those who did nothing at all. These findings were published in the prestigious journal, Circulation, which is run by the American Heart Association. The bottom line is any activity is great for weight loss exercise and for your heart no matter how small it may seem.