Is Your House Making You Fat?

fat houseGo ahead and laugh if you will, but there is actually a little science (OK, very little) behind the idea that your house plays a role in whether you stay in shape or put on a few extra pounds. Try these on for (a smaller) size:

1. Homes with steps are healthier.

Climbing stairs increases your heart rate and metabolism, ergo multilevel homes are healthier than single-story ones. How many calories can you burn schlepping groceries up a flight of steps? Try 430 per hour, says Fit Day. We can talk about bum knees in a later post.

Click on the pictures below to see some homes with great calorie-gobbling staircases:

2. Don't set up your home office at the kitchen table.

More of us work from home than ever before. But besides getting to wear our bedroom slippers all day, we also have closer proximity to the refrigerator -- a bad thing. The trick to making your house work for you -- at least weight-wise, since its days as an ATM are long over -- is to stay out of the kitchen except at mealtime. Move your workspace to the garage or, in nice weather, set up shop outside on the patio, far, far away from the evil potato chip-bearing pantry.

Remember, those kitchens with built-in desk spaces are meant for the kids to have a place to do homework while mom or dad cooks dinner.

Click on the pictures below to see some home offices with serious swank:

3. Lighting matters.

Dim lights make food more attractive -- and the better it looks, the more of it you want to eat. Kill the dimmer switch in the dining room and on those occasions you have company over, opt instead for candles. The rest of the time, crank up those bright lights.

You might also consider painting the kitchen blue. According to Color Matters, blue pretty much makes people lose their appetites. In a study conducted by Better Health, people ate 33 percent fewer snacks in a blue-lit room than they did in a yellow or red room. Food looks best when served in a warm-colored space. Think about fast food chains: They all have yellow interiors to encourage you to pig out. Yep, now you know.

4. Lose the dishwasher.

You burn roughly 270 calories an hour pushing a lawn mower. It's 230 calories per hour for cleaning your gutters. And even just washing the dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher burns 70 calories an hour. It actually may surprise you that many homes don't have dishwashers in them. At the beginning of the 1980s, just 43 percent of U.S. homes had dishwashers, and that number went up just 17 percent over the next 25 years. That still leaves a fair number of houses where you might want a pair of rubber gloves as a house-warming gift.

5. Get a hot tub.

Studies have shown that regular use of hot tubs can aid in weight loss, as well as diminish the appearance of cellulite. Soaking in a spa simulates exercise by dilating blood vessels and promoting better circulation; it also relaxes skin and muscles, and increases your heart rate while lowering your blood pressure. Yeah, and it just feels good too.

A 1999 New England Journal of Medicine study examined how soaking in a hot tub for 30 minutes a day impacted insulin need in diabetics. And in the process, it also found that the subjects lost more than a pound a week.

Click on the pictures below to see some luxurious hot tubs and spas:

6. Make a gym even where you don't have room for one.

Not everyone has the space for a treadmill, stationary bike or set of weights. But that treadmill can be replaced by a brisk walk around the block, and two five-pound cans work pretty well as weights. Remember those steps in your house? Spend 15 minutes a day running up and down them.

It also may be time to get a little selfish. If you have an under-utilized guest bedroom, turn it into a gym. Or at very least, a home office to get you out of the kitchen.

Click on the pictures below to see some over-the-top home gyms:

Also see:
The Mortgage Fix That Can Save the Economy

Ultimate Conversion? From Nuclear Plant to Amusement Park
Jeff Lewis: Kitchen Remodel on the Cheap (Video)

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