Summertime Chores: Can They Help Your Health?

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Does mowing the lawn, pulling weeds in the garden and watering the flowers feel like a drain on your time and your energy?

While these summertime chores can be time-consuming, they also could be life-saving.

Physical Activity: Is Mowing the Lawn a Workout?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans ages six and older. These guidelines, last updated in 2008, recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

While that might seem like more time than your schedule permits, try reframing your weekly outdoor chores into a mini-workout. All of a sudden, you’re getting in some physical activity while sprucing up your outdoor space. It’s a win-win for your yard – and for your health.

A few suggestions for maximizing your summertime chores include:

  • Increase your pace a notch while walking behind your lawn mower. By raising your heart rate, this becomes more of an aerobic activity.
  • When watering plants or flowers, fill your watering can up with water and do a few weight-lifting reps. Repeat each time you refill the watering can.
  • Rake up any lingering leaf piles from last fall or branches from that last thunderstorm. Try to do it briskly to increase your heart rate and pay close attention to your form to build in resistance.

Does the Heat Impact Our Activity Level?

It’s easy to feel quickly overwhelmed in the heat, especially when our bodies aren’t used to warmer temperatures. It’s important to stop doing any type of physical activity if you feel dizzy or short of breath.

“Make sure to stay hydrated, even in early spring when it’s just starting to get warm,” says Dr. Saadeddine Dughman, Cardiologist at the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute. “Be aware of your heart rate and be smart about your pacing, whether you are mowing the lawn or picking up sticks in the yard. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.”

Next time you’re sweating while mowing the lawn this summer, take a break for some ice water and know that you’re not only getting in a workout – you are also helping your body stay fit and healthy.

Your Partner in Cardiac Health

Not sure where to start? St. Elizabeth can help. Schedule an appointment with one of our St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute Cardiologists today!