Did you know the Centers for Disease Control has designated February to be American Heart Month? Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the leading cause of death among American women. In an effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017, the CDC issued the Million Hearts Challenge in 2012. There are two simple life changes you can implement right away to make this challenge a reality in your own life:
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, while limiting sodium and trans fat
Today, we are going to highlight some ideas for getting your 30 minutes of exercise in while doing some household chores and tasks. In a subsequent post, we will give you some tips for making eating a more healthy diet a little more fun.
Some outdoor activities that may help burn a sizable number of calories include shoveling snow, splitting/stacking wood, and general yard work such as planting trees & shrubs and preparing beds for spring planting. Winter may be a perfect time to tackle indoor, household tasks that we have been putting off. Use time on cold, stormy days to get started on deep cleaning, calorie-burning activities like scrubbing the shower/tub, cleaning windows, ironing (who knew), sweeping & mopping, and even dusting. For estimates of calories burned for various activities, you may want to check the following links:
Not only will you bring a little more order and cleanliness to your home with these physical activities, you will be able to get your heart pumping and maybe, just maybe, make strides toward losing a little weight through all the calories you will burn! As always, you will want to start slow and not overdo it to the point of exhaustion or fatigue. Work your way up to heart fitness by adding several minutes of exercise/household chores each day. (We suggest that you check with your doctor for guidance in starting this “heart healthy” strategy.)