Friday, July 24, 2009

Reducing Stress with Physical Activity

All of us deal with stress in our day to day lives and many don't know how harmful it can be to your body. Stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, excessive sweating, queasy tummies, fatigue and lack of concentration. It also obviously affects a persons mood and outlook on life in general. The idea for this post came when my son was feeling badly for me that I had to shovel manure yesterday. I told him that sometimes it is nice to just do physical, non-brain-using activity, it tends to refuel me.

Exercise comes in many forms, and I'm afraid that's where folks get lost or frustrated. A person does not have to go to aerobics class or beat themselves up in a gym to see the amazing benefits physical activity can have on your life. It helps build bone strength (which we all really need), tones and strengthens muscles that you may not use in your "everyday" life, boosts energy levels and self esteem. Most importantly it "revs up" your immunity system to help you fight off all of those germs your family brings home!

Calories burned per hour for a 130, 155 and 190 lbs. person:
  • Child care 177 211 259

  • Cleaning the house 207 246 302

  • Dancing (even just around the house) 266 317 388

  • Moving furniture 354 422 518

  • Mowing the lawn 325 387 474

  • Pushing a stroller 148 176 218

  • Raking leaves 236 281 345

  • Scrubbing floors 325 387 474

  • Stretching/Yoga 236 281 345

  • Playing with your kids 236 281 345

  • Walking man's best friend 207 246 302

This list is to show how everyday activities can be a form of exercise themselves. In these busy times it is very difficult for many to get a work out in, and this list proves that you can tweak your day a little bit and still get the 30 minutes per day 5 times a week of exercise that the experts recommend. It is also okay, and sometimes best, to break it up. For every 90 minutes that a person is inactive, like sitting at your computer, break it up and do 10 minutes of one of the things I have listed above.

The benefits are twofold; first you get some great movement and benefits of exercise, second is the fact that while getting this exercise, you have accomplished another task, like vacuuming the living room or dancing with your kids. Try to mix it up everyday, this will help with muscle soreness (another reason for breaking the time up into 3 increments of 10 minutes for example), and keeping things new and exciting. I have also found this a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my kids and keeping them active as well.

As I was out burning off any frustration of the day, while accomplishing the task of cleaning the llamas yard, I was also visiting with my son who just broke his foot. I read somewhere that teenagers communicate better while he and the parent are both busy with other things, whether it be cooking dinner or shoveling poop, I'll take any opportunity to chat with my kids!

Today's picture is a reminder to stop and smell the roses (or columbines). Look closely, I even caught a lady bug!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

It's impressive that you can find the positive in shoveling poop!! I think I'll choose dancing and playing with my kids!