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Heart-Healthy Family Fitness

Get Your Kids Moving and Check Some Chores Off Your List!

With 1-in-3 kids being overweight or obese, staying active is more important than ever to American families. When you think about activities to get children moving, don’t forget to spread the love with chores — from dusting to mowing to walking the dog. Your kids may not exactly thank you, but their hearts will! Here are examples of calories burned from chores (adapted from Oh, and don’t forget to join them!

1. Can you dig it? Give your kids shovels and ask them to help out with gardening by digging. If they do it vigorously for 20 minutes, they’ll raise their heart rates and strengthen their cardiovascular systems.

2. Clean up! Hand out soap and a bucket and ask the kids to wash the car. Arms and abdominal muscles will get a speedy workout.

3. Rake it in! Raking leaves for 30 minutes burns 225 calories.

4. Scrub-a-dub dub. Ask the kiddos to clean the tub for 30 minutes. Removing that stubborn soap scum from your tiles is a great way to burn about 200 calories and tone arms and shoulders.

5. Sleeping beauty. Make all the beds in your house for about 30 minutes and you’ll burn 130 calories – the same number that you’d use if you jogged on a treadmill or on flat terrain for 15 minutes.

6. Load ‘em up. Loading the dishwasher for 30 minutes burns 105 calories, which is just less than the 160 calories burned when washing them by hand.

7. Dive for the dust bunnies. Vacuuming for 30 minutes burns about 90 calories and dusting for the same time kills about 50 calories.

Do you know how many calories you should eat each day for your individual level of activity to maintain your weight? To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. One pound is approximately 3,500 calories. To successfully and healthfully lose weight – and keep it off – most people need to subtract about 500 calories per day from their diet to lose about 1 pound per week.

Regular physical activity can help to control weight and blood pressure, and decrease risk for heart diseases and stroke. All healthy adults (ages 18 to 64) should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) every week or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., jogging, running) every week.   Additional muscle-strengthening activities are needed on 2 or more days a week. Besides helping you to lose weight, physical activity also improves the quality of life.

The amount of physical activity any individual person needs for weight loss can vary, but you will need to get both regular physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan to lose (and then maintain) weight. A good plan may include 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, like brisk walking, done nearly every day.

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