Something fun I have recently gotten into is calorie calculators. Not calorie counting, but calculating calories burned during certain activities.
This is easily and more accurately done with a heart rate monitor when you are working out, but I do not walk around wearing my heart rate monitor all day. It is really surprising how many calories can actually be burned while just living your life.
I just did an Internet search for "calorie calculator" and a bunch of useful ones came up. You enter your weight, age, height, sex and the activity done and the time spent doing it and it tells you how many calories you torched.
I absolutely love to dance. I was a cheerleader in high school and took dance classes as a kid. I really love it when I actually get an opportunity to go out with my friends and dance the night away. I don't really go out -- I am sort of a homebody -- but it is always great to get time to let off some steam and bust a move.
Last weekend I went to San Francisco to visit some friends, and we went to a daytime event and danced for about two hours. I was so surprised to find out that I burned 490 calories. That is like an entire meal.
I grew up doing chores. One of them was cleaning my room, dusting my furniture and vacuuming once a week for an allowance. Some things just become habit because now I pick one day a week to clean my entire room, dust my furniture, vacuum and wash my sheets. It's easier if I do it consistently and often, and just knock it out in about 90 minutes once a week instead of waiting for it to all build up.
So of course I plugged this into the calorie calculator and found that 90 minutes of cleaning at a moderate effort burned 285 calories. That's an extra 1,140 calories a month just by doing something that I do all the time without thought or question.
I absolutely hate moving. Since I relocated to Southern California six years ago, I have moved at least eight times for various reasons. It is such a pain to pack everything up and be reminded how much stuff I've accumulated. The moving part is so tedious, but I discovered that I burn 286 calories per hour when moving. For those of you who have moved, you know it takes much more than just an hour; it can take many days and countless hours to get everything moved and organized.
I am not pointing this out to prove you do not need to work out because you burn calories doing everyday things, but to remind you that you can build on the hard work you are already putting in while just living life. Being active in the gym and in life is so important.
Working out and stretching and strengthening your body at the gym is going to make completing other real-life activities, such as cleaning, dancing, moving, gardening, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, moving furniture around, or taking bags of groceries into the house, so much easier.
I had a client tell me once that working out made it easier for her to get in and out of her car. The more active you are, the more you can do -- and more more calories you burn.
Lunden Souza can be reached at email@example.com.