A 2008 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that adults should aim to perform 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, plus include two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities for optimal health. For patients that habve had bariatric surgery and working on weight-loss goals, these activities can be done in 10-minute segments broken out throughout the day. As part of our Facebook Fitness Friday series, we wanted to highlight a few activities to help burn the most calories this time of year.
Let's step back and consider what activities will you likely be doing this time of the year. The season for lawnmowers is almost at an end, however you are likely cleaning up your snowblower or snow shovel. At my household, it's time to get the car in the garage which requires a lot of organizing and "shoveling out". We alos have a lot of gardens around the yeard that need fall-clean-up. While these activities often take longer than 10 minutes, stop to consider how many calories you are burning even for a short period of time. You'll be surprised!
Let's take for example a 240-pound adult raking leaves. Ten minutes minutes raking burns approximately 78 calories. While that might not be many calories, most lawns with even the smallest tree would likley require 30 minutes of raking. That's a total of approximately 234 calories burned! Here are a few activities that you can do this fall that will help burn calories.
- Raking Leaves = 477/hour
- Leaf Blowing = 381/hour
- Cleaning out the Garage = 327/hour
- General Gardening = 435/hour
- Winterizing Your Lawn (Fertilizing) = 272/hour
- Mow Lawn = 599/hour
Want to know how many calories you burned doing an activity? The Mayo Clinic activity list is a great place to start. It is a nice-size list of activities with corresponding calories burned. Discovery Health also has a customizable calorie calculator with even more activities listed and you can enter your current weight for a more accurate estimate!
If you are overweight or obese, you may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness, however that shouldn't prevent exercising during the summer months. The heat may sap some of your resolve and lower motivation, but there is no reason you shouldn't stick to your program. Just use more caution when working out in the heat. Here are several tips to keep you moving when the mercury rises!
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, before, during, and after exercising. If you are thirsty before exercising, you have already begun to dehydrate. Prevent this by drinkinf 1-2 glasses of water an hour before exercising, another large glass before you begin to exercise and then take frequent water-breaks during exercise. You should always finish off your workout with another big glass of water too! As a way to help my body stay hydrated, I like to start my morning by drinking a big glass of water as soon as I wake up - It's one way I can guarantee that I'm on the way to drinking 8 glasses a day.
Instead of being outdoors in the heat, consider going to the gym, pool or mall; Swimming, walking the mall, climbing stairs in an air-conditioned building or using the facilities in an indoor gym are great options to keep your regime moving forward.
Avoid The Sun
If you have to be outdoors, try to avoid exercising between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. It's also best to stick to the shade and wear light-colored fabrics that reflect the sun’s rays. Wearing fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin can also help you stay dry and cool. If you're in the sun, don’t forget your sunscreen! It may be unpleasant to slather sunscreen onto already sticky skin, however sunburned skin heats up and does not allow the body acclimate to the heat. Apply sunscreen for an additional level of security. Being obese already puts you at risk for sun-related illness and heat-stroke, and heating up during hot-weather can exasperate that even more. So stay dry and in the shade for your comfort and peace of mind. I like to walk in the woods for a nice, gentle hike. It's a great hot-weather exercise tip. Stick to grass or dirt paths instead of blacktop and cement as the pavement absorbs the sun’s heat.
Take A Break
When it gets hot, reduce your work-out intensity and make sure to take frequent breaks. This means knowing your fitness level and understanding your medical risks too. Heat and humidity can affect you differently so make sure to stay aware of your body during hot-weather workouts and dial it down. Inviting a friend to walk is a great way to workout. Your friend can provide motivation as well as guage your well-being, so grab a partner and hit the road.
Know The Signs
It's very important to know the signs and symptoms of trouble. Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness, however overheating for long period of time can have serious consequences too. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you develop any of the warning signs and symptoms listed below, stop exercising, get out of the heat and get hydrated.
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
You may already be at risk for heat related illness if you suffer from obesity or other medical complications. By taking basic hot-weather precautions, your exercise routine doesn't have to be derailed though. If in doubt, talk to your doctor, but it is possible to keep moving your weight-loss efforts forward, even if it is at a less-intense level - In the long run, getting rid of the excess weight will make you AND your body happier and healthier!