Slim down with Susan Antonacci: Week 4

10 easy ways to burn calories – by sticking around home!

Who knew my dog could become my life and fitness coach?

Each Thursday, my colleagues Donna, Erin, Lisa and Doug each take our turn on the weight scales. We empty our pockets, step out of our shoes, and off come boots, belts and any heavy sweaters.  I worry that one day one of us will get carried away with our disrobing and shock the publisher.

This week, I was very surprised, if not puzzled, when I took my turn on the scales. My efforts in the Canadian Living Slim Down were obviously paying off:  I was down 2.3 lbs. Hooray for me…but how?

I'm very proud of slim-down achievements so far!

I'm very proud of slim-down achievements so far!

If you’ve been following my 6-Week Slim Down Blog, you’ll know that I’ve faced some challenges when it comes to sticking to my fitness routine.  Cold weather, ice-covered walkways and too much procrastination. Then someone asked me how much walking I’ve been doing.  Well, yes, I do what I call a ‘fitness walk’ up to four times each week. Surely that can’t account for my recent weight-loss success.

But then I thought about some of the other activities that fill up my day – I just don’t think of them as bona fide exercise but that’s where the numbers add up.  In addition to my fitness walk, I realized I do tackle a surprising number of other energy-burning tasks throughout the day, and that includes walking my dog Scooter.

There was a time just after Christmas when Scooter seemed to be in doggy doldrums: he just didn’t want to go outside in the snow. Then the cold spell passed – and Scooter got a seasonal second wind. Twice in the last week he was at the front door waiting to go outside walking before I reached for my coat.

And there are other calorie-burning activities in my life that I tend to forget about – and I bet you do too!

For instance, I make a point of parking my car at the farthest end of the lot when I take my friend Annie grocery-shopping on Saturdays. By habit, I skip the elevator at work and take the stairs when I have a meeting up on the 5th floor. (It’s not much, but it means I get an easy cardio work-out.) And I rely on my own two feet when I need to dart out to the corner convenience store when we’re out of milk. No hopping in the car for me.

Did you know: a 155 lb. person walking a dog (slowly) burns 211 calories and that shoveling snow by hand  burns 400 calories on a 140 lb. person? (These stats were reported by The Society for Vascular Surgery.)

Those numbers piqued my curiosity so I turned to Calorie Count web site to check out a lit of calories burned by home-based activities.

Here’s a tally of the calories burned per hour by a 150 lb person:

  1. Washing windows: 204 calories
  2. Carrying groceries upstairs: 510 calories
  3. Making a bed: 136 calories
  4. Moving furniture: 476 calories
  5. Carrying small children: 204 calories
  6. Putting away groceries: 170 calories
  7. Vacuuming: 238 calories
  8. Washing dishes: 170 calories
  9. Scrubbing floors: 258 calories
  10. Sweeping the garage: 272 calories

So who knew that cleaning house and doing the dishes could help me get fit? On second thought, I guess I could just walk the dog a little more often. Trust me, my dirty dishes are nowhere as cute as my little dog Scooter!

Oh, and just a reminder: remember to download our 6-Week Slim Down Tracker. It’s a great way of seeing clearly what calories you’re taking in – and what you’re burning.

Until next week, keep walking, running, doing squats…and ironing and carrying groceries…and walking your puppy.

Susan.