Auto activities can have car-diovascular benefits

Sometimes I can be pretty lazy.

I’ll intently watch late-night workout infomercials instead of actually getting some exercise. I seem to be able to find the easy way out when it comes to working off unwanted winter poundage.

So, needless to say, I don’t jump for joy when it snows and I have to shovel the driveway. In my neck of the woods in the Northeast, when it snows it requires a shovel to find the windshield of the car and not a tiny little scraper.

During the most recent dump, huffing and puffing and cursing my way up and down the driveway in a feeble attempt to win, I wondered if all my sweating and grunting had any actual positive affect on my health.

It’s no surprise to hear, girls, but the personal trainer at my gym says that many of the things you do on a daily basis can really help you work off that bowl full of jelly.

Auto-related activities, such as shoveling the driveway, washing a car and even pumping gas can have car-diovascular (pun fully intended) benefits.

“It’s easy to put on weight, but you’d be surprised at how easily you can burn it off,” he said. “You burn calories just by sitting still.”

By sitting still, say in my car on my way to an interview, I’m gonna burn off that pound cake I inhaled over the winter holidays, huh?

Apparently so, say my new best friends at

According to the website, the average woman weighing 130 pounds will burn about 29 calories in half an hour simply by sitting on her duff; the average 180-pound male will use up 41 calories in the same amount of time. (Please, no emails for the use of the term “average” with reference to weight. If it makes you feel any better, I’m above average myself.)

Anyway, according to the website, driving a light vehicle (anything less than a gravel truck, really) for 30 minutes will burn around 59-82 calories.

Get behind the wheel of a big rig and you’ll burn off that super sized Big Mac Meal even faster: 177-245-calories-an-hour faster.

Vacuuming up all the dirt and drive-thru droppings in your car for 20 minutes will burn off around 49-68 calories; tack on 30 minutes to wash your car and you could lose an additional 133-184 calories. That has to account for at least a Happy Meal (well, maybe a plain burger, anyway).

A quick 10-minute sweep of the sidewalk will burn anywhere from 39-54 calories and shoveling snow for 30 minutes will use up around 177-245 calories.

But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty, the more hands-on stuff will melt away the pounds. Taking an hour to repair your four-wheeled friend will burn around 172-245 calories, bodywork for the same amount of time will use up 260-368 calories.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have about a 28-hour ride ahead of me … I just have to drive off a couple of boxes of chocolates, a cheese log and a few cartons of spiced eggnog I’ve been carrying around since Christmas.

Rhonda Wheeler is a journalist with Wheelbase Media, a worldwide supplier of automotive news, features and reviews. You can email her by logging on to and clicking the contact link.

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