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Housework: Help or Hindrance?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

There was a time, several years and decades of pounds ago, when it was hard for me to keep my house clean. I was slow and tired. The effort just took a great deal out of me. I hated cleaning and I hated the mess and I hated the dirt. And I'd never imagined when I was growing up that I would have all this housework to do. I don't know who I thought was going to do it, but my vision of my grown up self did not include housework.

Then I lost some weight and got fitter. My favorite activities were walking and Walk Away the Pounds. I thought of my house and neighborhood as the place for me to be active and improve my fitness. I read that the average housewife burned 50,000 calories per year cleaning house and I thought I had to be actively cleaning at least average. Let's see now. 50,000 divided by 3,500 equals 14 pounds per year. So, I came to think of housework as part of my fitness program.

Then I got fitter. I joined a gym. I started running. Now, once again, housework is not so attractive. There are times I want to run or strength train or bike or swim or Zumba and I need to clean house and do laundry. Darn. In case the reader is one who can count housecleaning as cardio, let me assure you my heart rate does not get anywhere near my target rate even when I do my best to sweep fast or scrub hard. So I still appreciate that housework burns some calories and reduces my sitting time, but sometimes I would be burning more calories and getting even fitter if I didn't have so many mundane tasks demanding my attention.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEVELPATHS 1/2/2013 8:32AM

    Good blog! :-)

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DONNABRIGHT 7/4/2011 9:31AM

    I've always been torn on whether housework should count or not as cardio. There are times when I really go at it but they are extremely rare these days. With just the two of us it is fairly easy to keep clean and we do share most tasks so I have stopped counting it and I also no longer count gardening unless it is heavy raking or something like that.
emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/3/2011 3:24PM

    I am with you there. Housework is NOT cardio, it doesn't get the HR up high enough..People shouldn't be counting it as such because its considered normal daily activity counted in your basal metabolic rate. Would that we could all afford maid service so we can all enjoy the important things in life!!

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon
we sure are on the same track!

you gotta run when the weather is good for running!
clean when the weather stinks, lol, unless Zumba is calling!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 7/3/2011 2:44PM

    I understand from my hubby that when I used to be able to clean our house, I would be a cyclone. When I was done, I would be dripping with sweat and my clothes would be wringing wet. Granted, the house sparkled but I guess never realized how hard I went at it until I over heard him describing me. It was embarrassing! I used to go from thing to thing to thing. I could go on for hours at a time until I dropped. That's probably why I'm not allowed to do it any more! LOL

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JOYINKY 7/3/2011 12:57PM

    When I really dig in, as I'm about to do soon, nonstop; I count it as cardio. If it doesn't help my fitness it at least helps my attitude about doing it as it's not a high priority for me either. Daily maintenance level I don't count; it is what it is. Yes, I'd just as soon be doing about anything else; especially if it's outside! Have a great 4th!

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WATERMELLEN 7/3/2011 12:01PM

    I am domestically challenged (to put it kindly) and never ever "want" to clean.

Do laundry, do grocery shopping, do some gardening, keep the kitchen counters wiped etc. And indulge myself with a kind and lovely cleaning helper once a week for the major stuff.

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-PAULA 7/3/2011 12:00PM

    I'm with you there!
Like 5 minute bursts of fitness, I do 5 minute bursts of housework and cooking thoughout my work day to get it over with.

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    I agree with you 100%!!! I tell myself that it counts as cardio, but find my mind turning up its nose because it doesn't do what real cardio does! I guess we just have to do it now and then, don't we? emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Still Getting Better

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I'm not getting older, I'm getting better!

Actually, I am getting older, but that is okay, because I am still getting fitter. Today I ran a 5K, 3.1 miles, on the treadmill at the well air conditioned YMCA in 27 minutes and 58 seconds. That is my fastest treadmill run by more than a minute. It really made me feel good, because I wasn't sure I could keep on improving. Obviously I can.

I went on and finished over 5 miles with a lot of walking. It just felt wonderful! Have a great and active day, everyone!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 7/3/2011 2:05AM

    You are getting better!! That is just amazing! You will look back on the way your life was and be wondering why you were wasting so much time, when you could be having all this fun!! New horizons are opening for you and you are proving that you can do anything you put your mind to!!
Keep up the fabulous work! Enjoy all that energy!!

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    That is wonderful! Again, you keep inspiring me! emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/2/2011 9:47PM

    Lovely to feel that sense of improvement and achievement!! Good for you!! (I worked out at my air conditioned YMCA today too . . and then went to the beach and sizzled!! Loved it!!)

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SEPPIESUSAN 7/2/2011 7:12PM

    That is really fast, for any age!

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AQUAGIRL08 7/2/2011 6:40PM

    Wow! Great job Marsha!

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SACOST 7/2/2011 6:35PM

    Sounds like you're getting better as you get older!!! Keep up the great work. emoticon

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JOYINKY 7/2/2011 3:10PM


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-PAULA 7/2/2011 2:07PM

    I'm inspired! You are so fast!

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    Awesome! You are getting better and better - just a little older emoticon

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UMBILICAL 7/2/2011 1:22PM

  Fine wine. Wisdom. Generativity. Love. All side effects of getting older.

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Thought Required

Friday, July 01, 2011

I didn't set up any special goals for June like I do some months, but I still accomplished quite a few good things:

1. All my morning weigh ins were in my maintenance range. The overwhelming majority of the time I ate wisely. I tracked all but one day.

2. I ran two 5Ks in June, setting a personal best of chip time 28:46; gun time 29:06. The other race, after reduced training due to sore back, was almost as good with a chip time of 29:10; gun time of 29:22.

3. My fitness minutes in June totalled 2712, with a lot of intense workouts. I did as much strength training as I thought I should, given the lower back challenge.

4. In June I set a new streak of 252 days spinning the SparkPeople wheel; 250 was my previous record. I drank a lot of water and slept well almost every night. I was persistent.

You might think that now I've been at a healthy BMI for 27 months and at my personal goal weight for about a year that I could just live healthy without giving it a great deal of thought. Well, I know me. Thought required. SparkPeople gives me focus and positive feedback even when I don't set specific goals for the month. SparkFriends give me the suggestions and encouragement I need to succeed.

Good month. Thanks, SparkPeople!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/2/2011 6:33PM

    Still, Marsha, you put forth a lot of effort to keep it all running. We just offer the support. You are amazing!

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DONNABRIGHT 7/2/2011 8:33AM

    Sounds like that is why you are so successful!

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JOYINKY 7/2/2011 8:17AM

    You are an inspiration! Yes, it requires thought for me too; food and fitness tracking, even after 6 years and always will. Small price to pay and has actually become habit. I was a pencil and paper tracker before coming on SP. It was learning to track fitness minutes here that has kept me comfortably in my goal range. WTG on June and I know you'll have a great July!

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_LINDA 7/2/2011 1:02AM

    Fantastic month! Well done! Yes, this lifestyle does require thoughtful attention. My sister no longer tracks (in fact, stopped as soon as she lost her weight), but is still maintaining. I don't believe I can relax my vigilance. I will always carefully track, and I do so also to see how I am doing for nutrients to make sure I am getting everything I need, not just the calories..
Here is to continued successful maintenance!

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    Marsha, your successes really inspire me! Thank you for posting them and encouraging others! emoticon

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FRAN0426 7/1/2011 11:17PM

    You had a fantastic month of June---WTG. You are one great spark member and show what motovation, pesistance, and are certainly an inspiration for many sparkers----keep up the great work Marcia!

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WATERMELLEN 7/1/2011 10:34PM

    Great month!!

And I absolutely agree: thought is required. And attentiveness. You're doing both of these.

And: your results show that.

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MONTY68 7/1/2011 10:28PM

    Hi Marsha
I think you had a awesome month of June. Congratulations on all that you accomplished, I can understand your concern and that thought is required. I agree, it is almost 3 1/2 years of maintaining my weight and I like to say I am living life, BUT, I stay on Spark and receive inspiration and motivation. I guess my 67 + years of weight problems still is in the back of my mind, So, I continue to monitor life on a daily basis.
I don't think it hurts to remind self of the need to exercise, walk and track what I eat.
I know that you will do what ever takes to continue your healthy journey.
Thank you for sharing.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PMFISH 7/1/2011 9:51PM

    Sounds like you had an excellent month! Keep up the good work!


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ONEKIDSMOM 7/1/2011 9:16PM

    I'm with you, Marsha! I need to have my Spark friends around to remember WHY I do this, and that it's important to me. emoticon And you, dear lady, are among my most inspiring role models!

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    Ever vigilant!

I too must be ever vigilant or the weight will come back with a vengeance.

WTG on a very successful June!

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Strength Training Done Easy

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I ran a 5K on June 4th, the first of the 4 in the Watermelon Series. Soon after I thought to myself that I didn't have a race for three weeks, so it was time to take on the strength training. I was feeling so strong and athletic.

Well, a couple days after the 5K I did an hour Zumba class and then the same day I did a 45 minute Body Sculpting Class with my daughter and weights, and my regular 11 weight machines, and then I did some extra ab work on the stability ball. Like I said I had been feeling so strong and athletic. But then my lower back started to hurt. I thought it was DOMS - the delayed onset muscle soreness you usually get when you work muscles that aren't used to it. But then a week later I was still sore and I thought maybe I had injured myself. I cut way back on the strength training and just did a little arms, but no abs or legs. Gradually the lower back discomfort has gotten better and better. It was still just a little sore when I ran the second of the Watermelon Series 5K on June 25th.

Now my next race is not until July 23rd. I went back to the Y today and did 8 machines, but I reduced the weight on each. I am feeling kind of strong and healthy and athletic, but this time I want to build it back up a little easier.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/2/2011 6:26PM

    You are smart to be careful with your back. A careful approach is usually the best way to go!

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JANEWATKINS 7/1/2011 4:20PM

    I guess slow and sure really does win the race! Good luck between now and July 23. I'm cheering you on. Jane

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WATERMELLEN 6/30/2011 8:17PM

    Your approach makes lots of sense!!

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    Go slowly when pain is involved.

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JOYINKY 6/30/2011 3:40PM

    I agree with Linda; strength training at the gym is how I've protected my lower back but proper form is critical. I think you've hit on it; if you are moving too much weight it can distort your body alignment. You do a great job of listening to your body and adjusting what you're doing. WTG!

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_LINDA 6/30/2011 1:26PM

    Be very careful with your back. You surely don't want to be having any problems with that. ST shouldn't be bothering it unless you are not getting proper form. Machines by their nature give you correct positioning, but using free weights in a body sculpt class you have to be very careful with those.
Good luck with your training. I am sure you will rock your next race!!
Take good care of yourself!

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Thanks, SparkFriends

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I really appreciate the responses I got to my blog yesterday when I told about feeling fat despite the fact that I had not gained weight. SparkFriend (LEGALLYBLONDE, for one) suggested using clothing -- like goal weight jeans -- as a test. Sounds like a great idea to me. One of the main ways I came to see myself as a person at goal weight was shopping for clothes. I usually bought one piece of clothing each Saturday after a good, free weigh in at Weight Watchers. I'd spend a lot of time trying on clothes, looking in the mirror (is that me??), and then buy one bargain. Recently I have thought I have enough clothing. If I'm not going shopping to confirm my size, trying on some of my more fitted clothes might be helpful. Thanks again, SparkFriends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 6/30/2011 11:19AM

    That's a great idea, Marsha! I hope that it worked for you and that you feel better about yourself today!

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    I agree about the clothing! I never imagined I'd be fitting into a size 8 until I took a chance and tried some on at Kohl's just to see how far I'd have to lose to get them closed, and they FIT! What a confidence booster! Hang in there, because you are doing emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 6/30/2011 8:19AM

    Like you, I have enjoyed "shopping" as a way of confirming that I'm maintaining.

But also like you, I truly have enough clothes -- more than enough.

So shopping without buying (just trying on) or shopping in my closet works: do I still fit the size 6 suit?? OK then!!

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_LINDA 6/30/2011 1:49AM

    Clothing is the ultimate measure. But women's sizing is so erratic, it must be ones you have had since reaching what you consider a goal weight! How it continues to fit is every bii as good as getting on the scale and perhaps better as water retention won't matter. Here is to always feeling comfortable in your clothing!

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GATOR12 6/30/2011 1:35AM

    Great plan. You are doing so great. It has to be a good feeling to see how far you have come and to live in the new you!!! You are welcome from any of us and YOU have done the hard part--reap the reward. Brenda

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MIRAGE727 6/29/2011 11:11PM

    I read your take yesterday and I had been feeling a bit more full for two days. I just went blank and thought I had responded. I put my size 34 waist pants on earlier and they fit nice and comfy. I remember finding a pair that was a 44 waist. That went out of the door really fast. In any case, everyone has days like that and you are not alone. You look great!

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/29/2011 11:00PM

    Dr Oz gave 3 helpful clothes tools ... Non-stretch jeans, your belt (mark holes inside with goal, now, and NO holes), and white button-up shirt (watch out for gaps).

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JOYINKY 6/29/2011 10:53PM

    I think that's a great idea! Time to let go of focusing on numbers and focus more on enjoying this new life. Clothes are such a gentle way to stay accountable as long as they don't stretch! Enjoy this new life to the fullest!

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