That’s Exercise?

Can doing laundry help make you fit? You’d better believe it, says Ellen Langer, PhD, a Harvard University psychologist. She told 44 hotel maids their job was a good workout. A month later they’d shed about two pounds. They didn’t work any harder, but their mind-set had changed: They believed cleaning could help them shape up, and somehow it did. “If you put the mind in a healthy place, the body will be in a healthy place,” says Langer.

But Cedric Bryant, PhD, of the American Council on Exercise, isn’t so sure. “I wonder if changing their perception had an impact on their behavior outside work. Did they think, Jeez, I’m becoming healthy while I work — now I should eat better? The study didn’t measure that.” In any case, everyday activities do add up. Check out the stats below from The Duke Diet.

Move a Little, Lose a Lot!

Activity: Taking a walk on your lunch break
Duration: 10 minutes, 5 times a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 170
Pounds Lost in a Year: 2.5

Activity: Using the stairs instead of the elevator
Duration: 5 minutes, 5 times a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 225
Pounds Lost in a Year: 3

Activity: Housework
Duration: 2 hours a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 408
Pounds Lost in a Year: 6

Activity: Playing actively with kids
Duration: 1 hour, 3 times a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 612
Pounds Lost in a Year

Activity: Working in your yard or garden
Duration: 2 hours a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 712
Pounds Lost in a Year: 10

Activity: Dancing
Duration: 2 hours a week
Calories Burned Weekly: 816
Pounds Lost in a Year: 12

From The Duke Diet (Ballantine)

See Also:
More Weight Loss and Exercise Advice
4 Ways to Uncover the Motivation to Lose Weight

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy