Don’t feel like hitting the gym? Don’t sweat it, as things you’re probably already doing on a daily basis count as a workout. It’s time to expand our idea of exercise to include physical activity and movement, not just what we do on weight benches and in Pilates class. As personal trainer Robert S. Herbst explains, “Your body can't tell the difference between bending over to pull out a weed and bending down to pick up a kettlebell.”
These are some of the everyday activities that count as exercise, according to experts:
- Working in the yard - Mowing the lawn, taking care of plants and raking leaves give you a great workout with low-impact movement and cardio benefits. Shoveling snow counts, too.
- Running errands - Your daily walk can be through the aisles of Target, especially when you factor in lifting all those jugs of detergent and carrying your purchases to the car, then inside your home.
- Cleaning the house - This includes a wide range of physical movements, like carrying things from room to room, pushing and pulling the mop and broom, and going up and down the stairs.
- Walking the dog - Your furry companion also gives you multiple chances a day to sneak in some exercise. Not only does your pup need that daily walk for exercise, you do, too.
- Walking anywhere - Most of us sit for long periods of time every day and it’s bad for our health, but getting up and moving your body every half hour or so helps make up for that. And it doesn’t matter if you’re walking to the mailbox or to the kitchen for a snack, every step you take is better than sitting.
- The “I’m late” sprint - Rushing to catch a bus or train can give you a lot of light- to moderate-intensity activity during your commute.
- Playing with kids - Instead of sitting on the bench and watching your little ones play, get up and run around and swing with them for some cardio and fun.
- Dancing - Whether you’re doing it in a club on a night out or you’re having your own pajama dance party in the living room, it can be a full-body workout with great cardio, too.
- Laughing - Watch the funny cat videos or the comedy special that gets you laughing and you’ll get an ab workout while you boost your mood.