Hammer, paint and garden your way to fitness

Credit: Jack Atley/Allsport
Warmer weather brings many of life's simple joys: The fragrant scent of spring blossoms, the soft caress of a freshly-cut lawn against bare feet and the cool, thirst-quenching sensation of iced lemonade after a long day of toil.

It also signals warm-weather fashions including flesh-baring shorts, sleeveless tops and the tell-all swimsuit which lead many weight-conscious adults on a beeline to the nearest workout facility.

However, according to five time world-champion kayaker, Caroline Brunet, the first step to getting and staying in shape is finding calorie-burning activities you love and doing them consistently.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, Brunet suggests that you make room in your workout bag for a hammer, paintbrush or just about any other tool found at your local Home Depot.

"Working out doesn't have to mean running around the block," says Brunet, a 1996 and 2000 Olympic silver medalist. "Do-it-yourselfers can actually equate home improvement projects with physical fitness. The more physical the project, the more calories burned, and that includes anything from laying tile to working in the garden."

According to Brunet, 30 minutes of moderate activity each day provides the needed cardiovascular strengthening required for a healthy heart, building muscle tone and weight maintenance.

"Home improvement projects are an excellent way to shape up the home and the body at the same time," added Mary-Alison Pejskar, Health and Wellness Manager for Home Depot Canada. "Whether someone follows a regular workout schedule or is just beginning to exercise, Home Depot has projects and suggestions for every skill and fitness level."

"And, the improvements you make to your home are sure to be there in six months or a year down the road," adds Pejskar. "Unfortunately, weight loss isn't always as lasting."

To help you get started, the experts at Home Depot Canada, the leading authority on home improvement, have organized basic home improvement projects according to degree of difficulty and corresponding fitness levels. Now do-it- yourselfers can determine the projects that best match their skill level and physical prowess.

Putt-around-the-houser The beginning handyperson should start with moderate activity such as light raking and sacking leaves or planting flowers or shrubs.

These simple projects burn approximately 182 calories/30 minutes for men and 125 calories/30 minutes for women. Beginner-level projects are perfect for those who do not exercise regularly and are ready to take the first steps to physical fitness.

Do-it-yourselfer Intermediate-level tinkerers can take on more industrious projects such as painting or wallpapering a room, laying tile in a bathroom or planting trees and shrubs in the backyard. These activities burn an average of 205 calories/30 minutes for men and 140 calories/30 minutes for women. Projects such as these are ideal for those who participate in light to moderate exercise on a regular basis.

Super handyman or handy-woman These budding Bob Villas and Martha Stewarts often embark on more demanding projects including cleaning rain gutters, hanging storm windows or laying sod, burning an average of 228 calories/30 minutes for men and 156 calories/30 minutes for women. Even regular gym-goers who exercise on a moderate to heavy level will find these types of projects physically challenging.


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