Exercise, Work, and Time questions

vegangirlDecember 5, 2007

I recently read that people who successfully lose weight and keep it off as they age have several things in common. The one I have questions about is the 60-90 minutes of activity daily. I am not overweight but I want to be sure I maintain my weight. I'm 53. In spring, summer and fall, I have enough out side work to keep me from gaining. It's winter time that concerns me. We have a lot of wind here in winter and it can be bone-chilling outside. I live 25 miles from the nearest gym.

Ok now to the real question:-) What types of indoor work counts in this 60-90 minutes of activity? I don't feel that I have time to exercise for 90 minutes. If I'm sweeping, mopping, painting, etc is that active enough? The article mentioned that the successful maintainers burned an average of 400 calories a day. Where can I find out how many calories different types of housework, etc burn per minute?



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The idea that you can keep weight off by doing housework is flawed, as was found in a recent study in Britain. The reality is, while you may be expending calories, you're just not getting your heart rate up enough for it to do much good.

You really need to find a moderate to high level activity that you can do daily, even during winter. You say the gym is too far away -- what about buying an exercise bike or a treadmill? You can find them used for very cheap on CraigsList or other similar places. Personally, I've found having exercise equipment in my house to be a godsend. I plop myself down on the exercise bike every day for half an hour and either read or watch TV. It works great!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 11:26PM
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rivkadr, thanks for sharing that interesting article. I do have an exercise bike and a treadmill but I was hoping to find out that I could do useful work and have it count:-) I rarely watch tv but do read a lot so I will have to try to combine the exercise and the reading.

I made a mistake in my first post. The article said the maintainers burned an EXTRA 400 calories per day than their weight-gaining peers.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 8:18AM
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I find exercise machines deadly boring. I too prefer "real" work! But in winter the treadmill is an option as long as I get to watch TV while doing it! I never watch TV unless working while watching (I would feel guilty, or even fall asleep otherwise), so treadmill + TV is the only way I can ever see Oprah!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:53PM
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I put my treadmill and exercise bike in the dinning room by the glass patio doors. I can see the creek and I pretend I'm riding outside:-) I can see birds in the trees along the creek too. I've been thinking about getting a cd of nature sounds to listen too while I ride/walk. Or maybe I could practice my Spanish or learn more bird songs. I've found that I can read while cycling but not very well while walking on the treadmill. Hmmm...lots of ideas are popping into my head,but I still would like more info about real work! :-)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 4:57PM
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There's a certain trick to walking on the treadmill and reading at the same time. You have to be able to keep one eye watching what you're doing peripherally to keep your balance and stay up to speed, and the other on what you're reading (that's why I only read fluffy stuff; nothing that requires a lot of concentration). I can hold small paperbacks in my hands while doing this, but anything bigger, I have to set on the tray, and hold open -- that also helps to keep me steady.

But yeah...it's easier to do on the exercise bike...it's not like you can really fall over ;) My problem is that I tend to get involved with reading and slooooow down.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 2:04AM
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Yeah, I tend to fall over trying to read on the treadmill:-) Seems like I have to hang on to the treadmill with both hands. Maybe I can get DH to build me a little book rack on my treadmill.

I just read an article that said research had shown that women over 50 who did garden or yard work at least once a week had higher bone densities than those who did other types of exercise--swimming, jogging, walking, etc. Only two activities were significant in maintaining bone mass--garden/yardwork and weight training. They were surprised about the garden/yardwork. This was in Horticulture October 2001 so it's old news but I hadn't read it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 9:59AM
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Have you ever tried exercise DVDs or tapes? If you have a combination VHS, DVD player that is a plus because you can get some good workout vhs tapes on eBay very cheap. The good thing about workout tapes is that once you plateau or get board you can change out with a new tape to keep you motivated. As a starting point, you could visit collage video online, look at workout reviews, fitness levels, short workouts, longer workouts, and exercise type to narrow down your choices, and then go to eBay or CraigÂs list to save money. There is also a workout tape/DVD reviews on Amazon and Paula DÂs.
A good workout rotation example would be day #1 upper body on the Ball (works balance, erector spinae, upper body & helps with functional movement). Day #2 lower body on the Ball (balance, erector spinae, lower back, abbs, hips, butt and more). Day # 3 mat Pilates or a Pilates yoga mix (good for getting all those inter connecter muscles, spinal alignment, posture, stretching, abbs). Day # 4 REST. Day #5 upper body with lightweight or heavy if you are ready (good for large muscle groups). Day #6 lower body with lightweights or heavy if you are ready (good for large muscle groups). Day #7 Pilates or Pilates yoga mix.

With this rotation, you could do shorter workouts as you are concentrating on particular muscle groups thus giving other muscle groups a day of rest. You will also achieve well-rounded fitness this way. In addition, because they are shorter tapes you will be able to do cardio without taking up to much time to get fit. You may want to consider some spin tapes to modify use with your exercise bike. To guarantee your success I would strongly urge you to start slow and at a suitable level. I have seen many people buy tapes that were to hard and the exerciser gave up almost immediately. Also, be warned that while your friend may love one exercise tape instructor, you may not. You will need a little time for experimenting. You will also need an exercise ball for your size, an exercise mat and one to eight pound weights to start, heavier if experienced.

I have a combination of physical problems and truly believe in a workout rotation for physical fitness. I have a friend who beleives lifting heavy weights and walking is the way to go, the women has zero balance and can't touch her toes, not my idea of fitness.Looking at me, you would never know I have any problems; I am very strong and fit considering. My collection includes almost two hundred workout tapes, some that I love, some that I have outgrown and others where the instructor drives me nuts. The best part of it all is that I can exercise at my own convenience and no matter how much I may not want to exercise on certain days I can always find a tape to talk myself into the process. The bonus for me is that I am setting a good example for my teenager and he has started using my tapes. The boy is getting some mean biceps!
All my best!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Thanks for the good tips!I like the idea of rotation and shorter workouts. I just bought "Pilates for Dummies" book and I think I'm going to like it. I'm looking for an inexpensive Pilates DVD too. Thanks too for the ideas of where to look. What you describe is what I want. I want to be functionally fit and able to do the work required of me. I have some upper back problems that are likely caused by weak muscles.

What is a spin tape?

I have the mat and the weights. I've been thinking of getting the ball too. How do I determine the size that's right for me?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 7:43PM
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Your welcome vegangirl,

Ok let us go to step number one, if you have not done so already go get your pre-workout physical & have your back checked out while there. Since you are psyched to start a program, you will need go in knowing that the ground is ready for the Foundation.

Spinning is using your exercise bike at a higher intensity either in a gym class or at home where you can use a DVD. Spinning is actually a trademarked name so when looking for home workouts search under indoor cycling or cycling class DVDÂs. This may be too strenuous to start with & you may find you can only do a few minutes at a time with adding a minute every few days. On the other hand, you may want to take it a little slower at first without a cycling tape and just cycle to your favorite music. Regardless of which you choose you will need a heart rate monitor or google and educate yourself on RPE (relative perceived exertion scale).

I bought my Fitness Ball from Aeromat, it has a slight grainy texture with slight raised lines around it. There are many exercise balls out there to choose from; personally, I do not like the smooth surface ones for many reasons. Although I am not heavy I prefer fitness balls that can take a heavy weight, they hold their air better, are heartier and last forever. For proper ball size, you are meant to figure in height, weight, and your legs should be at a 90% angle while sitting. The basics are 55cm ball for 4Â 8" to 5Â 3", 65cm for 5Â 4" to 6Â 0" and 75cm ball for 6Â 1" to 6Â 7".

If you are interested in Pilates DVDÂs you could take the advice of the poster above and try renting first. Trust me on this; itÂs very easy to get discouraged when starting mat Pilates and ball workouts, it is a completely new way of thinking and moving. It is very important to try a variety of beginner tapes until you find one you like, they are not all created equal. After reading reviews and compiling a list for eBay and Craigs, keep one list in your purse, sometimes you can find DVDÂs at ROSS for ¼ the price online.

Here is your CHANT for those difficult days Â

I AM NOT TRAINING FOR THE OLIMPICS I AM NOT TRAINING FOR THE OLIMPICS I just want to be healthy and feel good I just want to be healthy, feel good and LOOK GOOD

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 11:08AM
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You know what I just bought? A "how-to" belly-dancing tape! It's a lot of fun, although I'm not very good. Not a super strenuous workout, but makes for a nice change every now and then from the treadmill and the exercise bike.

I think the best way to keep working out is to find ways to mix things up and keep yourself interested...

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Thank you so much for all the good help and answers to my questions! I did get a good check-up this past summer so I am all set:-) Back x-rays show slightly out of place vertebra. Dr feels that strengthening upper back muscles will greatly help. I'm going to look for a ball online as we have no fitness/sports stores within an hours drive. Just Walmart:-(

LOL about the belly dancing DVD!

What I really wish I had is a book telling me which muscles are being stretched and/or strengthened by raking, shoveling mulch, digging, etc. and calories burned by such activities. Then I would know how to schedule my work for a complete workout!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 3:22AM
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To qualify as exercise, you would have to get your heart rate up to a proper target rate for yourself, and many household activities aren't enough to get the rate up and hold it there for a while. Even though you get your rate up mopping the floor, that doesn't take very long, does it? It is exercise though, but you won't be burning as many calories as you would at a sustained activity level.

You could join a class at your local gym or YMCA. Some can be a lot of fun, and they have a social aspect too.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Yes, I'm having a problem finding enough hard work to do in the wintertime:) Some days it's mild enough and dry enough to work outside but not enough of the time. Summer time is definitely not a problem--more hard work that I can get done.

I'm sure I would enjoy joining the gym but with a 50 round trip, I just can't afford the gas.

I did find an Activity Calorie Counter online that tells me I can burn 8 calories per minute moving furniture or 5 washing windows but like you say, how long does it take? But as for outside activities pushing a lawn mower or digging in the garden burns 5 cal. per minute and that does take a long time. A different chart gives the following rates for calories burned per hour of activity for a 130 lb person: scrubbing floors on hands and knees=325, general housecleaning=207, sweeping=235. But of course it doesn't take me an hour to sweep or scrub the floor. but as you said, I guess it does all add up for calorie expenditure just not aerobic activity.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 5:10AM
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