Yup, that’s right, the Journal of The American Medical Association last week released a report on a 13 year study of middle-aged women and weight gain. In a study of 34,079 women over a 13 year period, researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, and The Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System determined that only women who moderately exercised for an hour per day were able to avoid long-term weight gain.
But don’t throw your hands up in futility just yet (because who, after all can exercise for an hour per day 7 days per week!?)! As it turns out, what the researchers included as ‘moderate exercise’ were activities like hiking, walking, and golfing. Additionally, basic lifestyle behaviors were equally influential in avoiding weight gain.
Indeed, things like gardening, yard work, and shoveling can be cumulatively added to the 60 minute target. 20 minutes of resistance training, 20 minutes of yard work, and 20 minutes of housework combined would be a perfectly acceptable “hour of moderate exercise.”
But it goes even further than that, for activities as mundane as light arts and crafts work, for instance, can burn 79 calories in 45 minutes (for a 154# gal). Or how about filing? 120 Calories in 45 minutes. Even playing the organ will knock down 131 calories in 45 minutes. Grocery shopping? 161 calories per hour with a cart; 186/hr without.
As a rule, it was concluded, the women who gained weight over the study period did so primarily because they were less active overall than the woman who didn’t gain any weight. Yes, they were diligent about completing what we would normally consider moderate exercise (jogging, weight lifting, swimming, skating), but they were also much, much more active with the rest of their day.
Curious about how many calories you’re burning when you’re making the bed? Check out this calorie calculator showing calories burned for nearly everything from playing the accordion to yoga.
Oh, and don’t forget about the spread office! My quick-n-dirty calculation found that you can burn an additional 225 calories per day by spreading your office!
At the end of the day it’s just as it’s always been: weight gain = calories in – calories out.
To avoid gaining weight you either need to eat less, or “exercise” more.
Naturally, I recommend the latter.
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