Keep Fit Around The House!

kfath“Sorry, Mon,” yelled Glenda. “I’ll clean the bathroom later. Randy and I have a date to go biking. See you later.”

“Hey, Dad, those leaves will be around tomorrow,” said Tony. “I’ve got football practice in just 10 minutes, OK?”

Here’s how Sandy explained it: “Grandma, I know I promised to help you with the laundry. But I gotta meet my friends at the mall. We’re gonna try out that new health club. OK if I give you a hand tomorrow?”

Glenda, Tony, and Sandy are headed out with their friends for some exercise. Great idea, right? What they may not know is that they’re leaving behind one of the handiest places in the world to get fit and stay in shape–their own home.

For every active high-schooler, there are many who rarely take part in vigorous exercise.

In fact, government statistics show that during the last two decades the number of overweight 12- to 17-year-olds has increased by 39 percent. One of the chief reasons for this? Lack of exercise. The truth is that many young people are both out of shape and out of touch with their need for exercise.

Getting in step and staying in shape don’t require a membership in a health club, an investment in a mountain bike, or even the relatively modest price of an exercise video.

Keep these tips in mind:

FITNESS TIP 1 Increase Breathing Rate

Fact: Almost any house-hold-related activity can improve your fitness level. To prove it, think of a specific housework chore (inside or out) and ask yourself: Does it increase my breathing rate, even slightly? Does it make me perspire, just a tad? If so, it’s definitely good for fitness. An activity doesn’t have to be high-intensity to be beneficial and heart-healthy.

When your forehead gets damps and your breathing rate increase, that means you’re working off calories, burning off fat, and perspiring your way toward a healthier, leaner body.

FITNESS TIP 2 Do It Regularly

Whatever activity or set of activities you choose should be done for at least 20 minutes a minimum of three times a week. Here’s a menu you can choose from, along with a description of how each of these exercises can help you improve your fitness level.

Snow Shoveling: Looking for a really good workout? Getting out a snow shovel and applying it to walks and driveways is a great way to get your heart rate up and keep it there for half a hour.

Shoveling can build endurance and strengthen your heart muscles. Lifting and tossing snow (especially if it’s the wet, heavy kind) will toughen up your biceps, build your back, and strength shoulders. But be sure to bend at the knees to avoid back strain. The result? Good muscle definition that gives extra pizzazz to any type of apparel, from ski clothes to T-shirts.

Gardening: Down on your knees and into the dirt! No, it’s not the U.S. Army, it’s yard work. If your home is green-free, sign up for a stint in a friend’s or neighbor’s backyard. (Hmmm. Might be some possibilities here for extra income, too.) Planting, watering, weeking, hoeing, and other activities related to grass, bushes, flowers, and vegetable gardens require you to bend and squat and help strengthen the muscles in your knees, calves, and thighs. The lifting, carrying, and weed tugging can strengthen your back, shoulders, and upper arms.

Yard Work: If you’re really strong, try using an old-fashioned hand mower on the grass. You know, the kind that runs not on gasoline but on human energy. Twenty to 30 minutes of body power mowing is how you separate the wonders from the wimps.

The rhythmic pulling and pushing activity needed for raking is great for your heart. Ever wonder why so many symphony conductors survive into their 90s? Many people believe it’s because of the regular, rhythmic motion of the baton and the exercise it provides for the upper body. Leaf raking has many of those same elements of exercise as orchestral conducting.

And you don’t have to be a musical genius. Because, during September and October, Mother Nature generously provides us with a ready source of upper-body exercise in the form of falling leaves.

The satisfaction of working outside in the crisp fall air is just a bonus. Your real rewards are the calories you work off and the gratifying feeling of having given your upper body the exercise it needs for fitness.

Vacuuming, Sweeping, Mopping: Like raking, these household chores give your body a good workout and help build upper-body strength. Try to stay aware of your body as you work. Tuck your stomach in, throw your shoulders back, and really dig into it. Use your favorite music to make the rhythmic, aerobic motion more fun. Reaching out with the mop handle to stretch into corners, closets, and cubbyholes helps build flexibility and tones your muscles. Using a vacuum cleaner on floors, drapes, furniture, and stairs can give you a real aerobic workout.

Scrubbing: Now who could get anything out of cleaning the sink and tub, wiping out the oven and refrigerator, dusting, or making beds? You guessed it! Each of these household chores burns calories and helps make you leaner and more fit.

FITNESS TIP 3 Time It

You can even make a game of household chores. Time yourself; then try to beat your own record. You’d be amazed at how you can shave off a minute here, two minutes there, and pretty soon you’re finished before you know it.

The next time you’re wondering where to go for a workout, look around. You’ll find that one of the most convenient places to get fit is right in your own home.

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2 Comments

  1. NoFatKidForMe

     /  November 26, 2015

    I think as a parent you have to be very aware of the fact that kids are far more sedentary than they have ever been! Video games, TV, etc are all complete killers, as far as I’m concerned. There are so many fatties out there that I just don’t even think most kids today have ever been to the playground.

    It ain’t like it used to be, that’s for sure.

    Reply
  2. Lauren Spears

     /  December 2, 2015

    Ha! I love the idea of “household chores as games”, but honestly, do you think kids are smoking crack? That’s an idea that sounds golden in theory, but if you can find a kid that will “play that game”, I’d certainly trade my kid for him! 😉

    Reply

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