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Forget the Gym: Stay Active at Home – Every Step Counts!

Do you stay home with your kids and think you have no time to exercise? Or you’re cutting back and can’t swing a gym membership? Forget the gym – you can get active at home and burn calories while going abut your daily routine. Walking, house work, even playing with your kids are all ways to get fit. The key? Keep moving.

Did you ever wonder how many calories traditional housework tasks burn? For a 160 pound person, a half hour of the following activities burn the following amount of calories:

Cooking dinner: 96 calories

Digging in the garden: 240 calories

Dusting: 120 calories

Grocery shopping: 190 calories

Ironing clothes: 190 calories

Making a bed: 94 calories

Moving furniture: 288 calories

Playing with the kids: 192 calories

Raking the lawn: 206 calories

Shoveling snow: 288 calories

Taking out the trash: 120 calories

Trimming bushes: 168 calories

Washing dishes: 144 calories

Washing windows: 144 calories

Watering outdoor plants: 120 calories

Vacuuming: 196 calories

Walking is the easiest form of exercise – no special equipment is needed. A great goal for overall health is to aim for 10,000 steps per day. How far is 10,000 steps? Close to five miles, considering the average person’s stride is 2.5 feet long. That may sound like a lot and a sedentary person may average only about 1,000-3,0000 steps per day; however, the health benefits are so significant it is worthwhile to boost your daily steps and shoot for 10,000.

How? Set attainable goals and work up to the 10,000 step goal. Start by wearing a pedometer (available at most sports/fitness stores) for one week from morning to night and record your steps. At the end of the week, you will know your average amount of steps each day. Then, set incremental goals – for example, if you take 4,000 steps each day – shoot to up that number to 4,500 in week one, then 5,000 in week two, etc.

How to fit these extra steps in your day? Take your dog for an extra walk, park farther away from the front door of the grocery store, take the stairs. All of these efforts add up to a more active and healthy lifestyle. Another great way to boost your daily steps and get fit at home when you have small children is to take a walk with your baby in a stroller. Taking a brisk 30 minute walk while pushing your child can burn up to 200 calories. Looking for company or motivation? Many towns and cities have organizations like Stroller Strides or Strollercize that host organized stroller workouts for moms and tots.

So stay active at home – dance with your kids, clean out your attic – and your health – and your family’s –  will be sure to benefit.

Sources: about.com and fitwatch.com

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