Stay Busy, Stay Young
The fountain of youth may be a myth, but there is something concrete we can do to maintain a youthful energy: chores. That’s right, recent studies indicate that diving into the mundane activities of our daily lives -- vacuuming or washing the car -- help us live better, longer.
The National Institute on Aging followed 302 healthy seniors for 6 years. The most active group burned 2,611 calories daily, compared with just 1,766 for the least active -- and the constant movers were 70% more likely to be alive at the study’s end. The researchers found that for every 287 additional calories the seniors expended each day, their mortality risk dropped 30%. The calorie difference came from one hour and 15 minutes of extra activity each day. Any type of moderate activity would yield the same results, including everyday housework like vacuuming, gardening, and climbing stairs.
In a second study, scientists from the University of Heidelberg in Germany tracked 791 people from their 20s into their senior years and discovered that those who became more active in their 40s cut their risk of heart disease by nearly the same amount as those who had maintained a lifetime of activity -- proving it’s never too late to start making investments in your health.
Try boosting your total daily calorie burn with these simple tasks*:
- Raking: 136 calories.
- Climbing stairs: 136 calories.
- Playing with children 119 calories.
- Washing the dog: 119 calories.
- Sweeping indoors: 112 calories.
- Washing the car or cleaning the garage: 119 calories.
- Washing dishes: 61 calories.
- Making the beds: 112 calories.
*Calories burned in 30 minutes for a 150-pound person.