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Declutter and Shape Up

Tuesday, 12 Apr 2011 09:39 AM


Decluttering your home can make it a more relaxing, less stressful place and, at the same time, help you get in better shape to enjoy summer activities. All it takes is a bit of planning that combines chores with healthy eating.

Rather than trying to clean out an attic, basement, or overstuffed closet in one fell swoop, consider breaking down the big task into smaller ones, and doing them bit by bit. That way, the project is not as daunting or exhausting and can give you a health boost by trading a little TV time for some beneficial physical activity on a number of days.

Calorie Burning

It’s surprising how a little movement can burn extra calories. Here are some examples of calories burned per hour for two different body weights (heavier people burn more calories and thinner people burn fewer):

• General cleaning (a bit more strenuous than dusting): 246 (155 pounds) and 326 (205 pounds).
• Giving the dog a bath or doing carpentry burn about the same number of calories.
• Carrying heavy or moderate loads up stairs: 563 (155 pounds) and 745 (205 pounds).
• Taking out trash: 211 (155 pounds) and 279 (205 pounds).
• Dusting: 176 (155 pounds) and 233 (205 pounds).

By spending an hour working on an area of your home, you’re likely to do a combination of things. It’s quite possible to burn about 300 calories in that hour, even if you don’t break a sweat.

Eating Right

When you take a break or finish a day’s decluttering session and a snack seems appealing, you could reach for a piece of fruit rather than a bag of chips or cookies. And instead of drinking regular soda, perhaps have some plain seltzer or mineral water with a spritz of fresh orange or lemon juice. One or both of these substitutions could mean you consume about 200 fewer calories.

By staying away from starchy foods and sugary beverages and adding a bit of activity each day, you tip the balance of calories in your favor. For example:

• Burning an extra 300 calories and eating 200 fewer calories creates a deficit of 500 calories in a day.
• By doing that for a week, your total number of calories could be reduced by 3,500 (7 days X 500 calories), which generally results in a one-pound loss of body weight.

The math is approximate, but hopefully, it gets the idea across. Taking in a little less and putting out a bit more tips the scales. Losing one pound a week adds up to about four pounds in a month — not too shabby.

For most people, cleaning out an attic, basement, or even a small closet is not a pleasant prospect. Breaking it down into smaller tasks — a slow-but-steady approach — can make it easier to get started. And then, the area starts looking better and the going gets easier.

Decluttering is a small investment of effort with good returns: immediate physical activity benefits and longer term, a nicer place to relax and unwind. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find some hidden treasure that pays for your next vacation.




© HealthDay

   
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2011-39-12
Tuesday, 12 Apr 2011 09:39 AM
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