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Woodworking as a Healthy Lifestyle

John Bass's picture

I am learning to deal with diabetes and the ever important mantra of exercise, exercise, exercise.   I know I can get a pretty good workout during some of my woodworking sessions.  However, knowing how to measure it is something else.


Has anyone found an accurate list of woodworking tasks rated by the calories they burn?  I am sure I am not the only one out here trying to make this work.  I would appreciate any input you have and any reliable sites you may have found.  Thanks

Domer's picture

(post #88792, reply #1 of 14)

I am a type II diabetic. I don't know what would be a good comparison but I do know if I spend a day in the shop, it is good for my blood sugar readings.

I think it is a combination of just keep on moving and the lack of stress. Plus it is hard to eat the bad stuff when you are occupied in something interesting.

Just a thought.

Domer

WillGeorge's picture

(post #88792, reply #13 of 14)

and the lack of stress. Plus it is hard to eat the bad stuff when you are occupied in something interesting.


I am a sort of Healthy guy fo my age.. I hardly ever get sick if no little children around.. And I love them! ALOT!... I am NOT a doctor or wise in any manner. Stress WILL get to you! Period I'd say! No matter what you eat!


I would say (without experience) Find a friend to Help each other..


But then again, all I know is my Wife was my true friend, I'd listen to her! Aad I'd bet you can find somebody to be that true friend to help.... True friends come in strange places..


MY BEST friend died long ago.. I miss her alot.. However I still follow her advice.. Old man here waiting to die to greet her and ask for a date..again!


 

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

forestgirl's picture

(post #88792, reply #2 of 14)

I think domer hit it on the head:  you're moving, your (hopefully) not stressed, and you're not eating the bad stuff.  Can't say I'm great at that last one -- munchies will make their way into the shop if I'm planning (drawing, making lists) rather than actually woodworking.


I will suggest the calorie consumption is probably on par with housekeeping duties, unless you're smoothing tabletops with a hand plane, which might get you a bonus.  Of course, these days women don't get down on their hands and knees and scrub the way I had to when I was a kid.  Oh, well.


The big calorie burners are activities that involve the big muscles, quads for example.  Three or four days a week, hit the bike or the treadmill for 20-30 minutes, that's the ticket. 


Make sure you're getting enough calcium and Vitamin D.  There's new research into Vitamin D that's seems to indicate the current RDA may be too low.  You don't want to take tooo much calcium, but getting enough of that and Vit D may help your diabetes.  Your profile doesn't list your geographic location.  Those of us who live in the Great Northwest really need the supplemental Vit D, LOL.



forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 


Edited 4/6/2009 10:21 pm by forestgirl

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

BG's picture

(post #88792, reply #3 of 14)

John,

Measuring caloric output accurately is a challenge primarily because each of us is different. The only accurate way is through an air tight testing chamber where all heat is measured, or a cardio-pulmonary stress test which will come close.

One measure of caloric burn is to weigh yourself before and after a work out/wood working session. Generally, each pound of body weight loss represents between 400-425 calories burned. I won't bother you with the math behind that number but be aware that that measurement includes all calories burned, not just those spent on the task.

Also be aware, that while intensity will improve VO2 efficiency is does little to reduce fat. Fat reduction comes when the body gets the message that the presence of the fat is a obstacle to the dissipation of body heat and therefore a threat to the structural proteins...that means prolonged workouts at low intensity.

Lastly, the body can't adapt (grow or shrink)unless it recovers from the stress...so don't beat the hell in yourself. Glad to see your getting your arms around this issue.

MikeHennessy's picture

(post #88792, reply #4 of 14)

"Generally, each pound of body weight loss represents between 400-425 calories burned."


If only it was that easy -- I'd lose a couple of pounds a day! The generally accepted conversion is about 3,500 calories per pound.


And that's a LOT of woodworking! ;-)


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

Domer's picture

(post #88792, reply #5 of 14)

It is my understanding that it is 3,500 calories per pound so that is why it takes both diet and exercise.

Prolonged low intensity work reduces your appetite in addition to burning calories and making you more fit as well.

Good luck

Domer

BG's picture

(post #88792, reply #6 of 14)

Mike,

"If only it was that easy -- I'd lose a couple of pounds a day! The generally accepted conversion is about 3,500 calories per pound."

Your correct, but we are talking two different things here. I'm saying a way of measuring calories associated with an activity is to measure (weigh) yourself before and after the exercise. When using muscle you generally burn sugars that are stored in the muscle, or liver, as glycogen. For every gram of glycogen stored your body stores 2.5 grams of water. There are approximately 450 grams to a pound. Each gram of glycogen is equal to about 4 calories. So when the "scale" says you've lost a pound, which is a combination of water and glycogen you can equate that to about 400 calories burned.

The 3500 cal. relates to a pound of body fat and that assumes a normal metabolism. The percentage of fat that gets metabolized with the glycogen to produce energy is subject to many variables....not the least of is your VO2 efficiency.

oldusty's picture

(post #88792, reply #7 of 14)

  All ,


        I can tell you a little about the effects of long hours and many years of woodworking . One thing , the majority of tasks are not a cardio vascular type of exercise. I get a good upper body and leg workout lifting and standing and walking most of the day .


   My arms and hands and back get the most workout , but I could gain weight working 60 hours a week if I'm not careful so it's not a super conditioner .


   Working in the shop or on any projects imo does do wonders to keep oneself sharp and active and is a form of R&R , productivity as well as personal development and use of skills .It keeps your brain active and I'm hoping if all the sawdust dosen't kill me it may keep me stronger .


         keep the chips flying


                        dusty, a boxmaker

Lataxe's picture

(post #88792, reply #8 of 14)

John,


As another has noted, how much energy gets burned depends on how you woodwork - how hard/fast, with or without machines, etc..


I do a lot of exercise of various kinds, both low and high workrate.  Even when using handplanes and other motorless tools I would say that woodworking falls into the "low workrate" category of exercise.  


If one is reasonably fit, a lot of handplaning can get you sweaty but nowhere near heavy-breathing. Tossing around a heavy plank on a jointer can do the same.  It's not like going for a run or cycling over a mountain pass, though - no heavy breathing or burning muscles.


Mind, if you did that more vigorous type of woodworking - planing and such - for 4 or 6 hours at a time, you would be doing a fair amount of work overall - like going for a long, brisk walk perhaps.  However, few but the handtool fetishists or the unlucky apprentices do this amount of planing.


Most other woodworking tasks are pretty low energy, especially if one is a considerative fellow rather than the dashing sort.  :-)


Possibly the biggest calorie burner is hard and continuous thinking about design or construction problems. The brainbox, when churning hard, uses a surprising amount of juice.


Lataxe

Jimurock's picture

(post #88792, reply #9 of 14)

I have a mild form of diabetes that's easily controlled by diet and exercise.  I work out daily morning and evening, and usually put in about 3 hours woodworking -- I'm retired.  As far as I can tell, woodworking has almost no effect on blood sugar levels.  If I miss a workout or two, or cheat on the diet, it shows.  If I miss woodworking, nothing.  I'm sure woodworking's good for the psyche, but at hobbyist levels it's not significant exercise, even when it gives you aches and pains. 


Jim

Biscardi's picture

(post #88792, reply #10 of 14)

All,


Heavy construction work (shovelling gravel) is 600 Kcal/hr


Running is 600 Kcal/20 min


Bicycling is 600 Kcal/hr


Walking is 200 Kcal/hr


I bet handplaning a walnut tabletop is close to 400/hr. Most of the stuff I do in the shop is likely much less than 200/hr.


I counsel people on weight loss frequently. Newton's second law (you can not create or destroy matter) is the dirty ugly truth. I think people have problems loosing weight to some extent because they unintentionally eat foods that have more calories than they think (It isvery easy to do). I usually suggest people count calories for a couple of weeks and find out what they are eating that is really dense in calories and not filling, and what they like to eat that is lower calorie and filling. It is a nuisance to do initially but very helpfull.


Have fun in the shop. It beats sitting in front of the TV and it is good for us mentally (except when I keep blowing up bowls on the lathe).


Regards,


Frank


 

flairwoodworks's picture

(post #88792, reply #11 of 14)

Frank,

Look at blowing up a bowl on the lathe as an opportunity (suggestion) to be more creative with your work!

Chris @ www.flairwoodwork.spaces.live.com
(soon to be www.flairwoodworks.com)


 - Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

Chris @ www.flairwoodworks.com
and http://flairwoodworks.wordpress.com

 - Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

Planesaw's picture

(post #88792, reply #12 of 14)

John,


I don't think woodworking will help at all.  Other than stress relief -- unless you get stressed out over something.


Read Dr. Richard Bernstein's book, The Diabetes Solution.  He was an engineer with diabetes who learned to control it.  Doctors wouldn't listen to him so he went to medical school and became an MD.  Now in his 70s he treats only diabetics and knows his stuff.  I dropped 20 lbs (hoping for 10 more) by exercising and changing what I eat and what I don't eat anymore.


Alan - planesaw

JerryPacMan's picture

(post #88792, reply #14 of 14)

Alan, thanks for the book tip, I will buy it soon.

 


Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans.


When your ship comes in... make sure you are not at the airport.

 

Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans.

When your ship comes in... make sure you are not at the airport.