Posts Tagged ‘aerobics’

Household Activities Add Up

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Paul Donohue, MD, writes a newspaper column named "To Your Good Health" which is published byThe News-Journal of Daytona Beach, Florida. Recently he addressed a question from an 89-year-old man and his 86-year-old wife. For them, running and jogging are not possible and even walking is becoming more difficult. However, both are still able to keep busy around their home and yard. The following information comes from Dr. Donohue’s response:

In advanced age, exercise does need to be approached with prudent caution, which includes obtaining physician approval to participate. Even so, many forms of physical activity may be beneficial.

One definition of exercise includes any activity that burns three to six times the number of calories that are spent while sitting quietly. On average, we burn 1.2 calories per minute when at rest (or about 70 calories per hour). How do housework and yardwork stack up when measured against that criterion? Many such tasks approach or exceed three times the resting calorie burn, as follows:

  • Typical general housekeeping chores — 4.8 calories per minute
  • Vacuuming — 3.2
  • Mopping floors — 4.2
  • Scrubbing floors — 7.3
  • Grocery shopping — 4.0
  • Preparing meals — 3.2
  • Raking leaves — 4.5
  • Mowing grass (push lawn mower) — 8.1
  • Exercise should raise one’s heart rate to a faster beat as compared to heart rate at rest. Ideally, this increased rate will be sustained for about 10 minutes at a time. However, if 10-minute bouts are not well-tolerated, then people should simply do what they can, with the goal of gradually building up to longer periods of activity. Eventually, total daily activity should reach 30 minutes, and that can be divided into three 10-minute sessions spaced out over the course of the day.