Any exercise is good exercise for your health
The human body was meant to move! And we do that all day long—from brushing our teeth to running for the bus stop to lugging books around school to even texting! Through all these activities we burn fuel; there’s even a memorable name for it—NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
Every activity we do during the day adds to the bank of energy we expend. The best part, these activities can count toward recommended exercise guidelines. The Center for Disease Control suggests two-and-a-half hours of aerobic activity every week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more of those days.
It’s easy to take a look at the ordinary chores you do and acknowledge how much energy you spend out. Put a little more passion in each activity and you’ll be surprised how much more energy you’ll get back. Check out the list below to see why any exercise is good for you.
Grocery lugging. Walking up and down aisles burns some calories, especially if you shop in super-big stores with long, long aisles. But why not up your ante? Instead of pushing a cart, carry the small basket around and gradually fill it with “small weights,” (i.e., water and detergent bottles)? Shift the basket from arm to arm and give your biceps a real workout.
Mall scouting. Remember that day when you went to the mall to get something specific and you had to go to four stores to find it? Take that attitude the next time you go shopping. “Scout” the mall like you’re looking for something, just don’t stop. Pass the stores by, keep your note what’s in the window, but keep going at your brisk rate. You’ll get all the enjoyment of seeing, without losing any energy on buying. And you’ll get some cardio in.
Cleaning house. Bending over to plug in the vacuum, squatting to scrub the tub, or reaching high to dust tall shelves all work different parts of your body. Not to mention the actual action itself, which can stimulate some cardio benefits. You can even get in extra lunges, squats, and leg kicks while waiting for the dry cycle to finish. Pump up the music and do these chores with passion.
Washing the wheels. It’s a full-body affair! Calf raises to reach the top of the car, squats to clean the tires. buffing in circle works your entire arm and shoulder. Add running around the car a few times at start and finish—just for the heck of it—will add some real expenditure of energy.
Mowing the lawn. No one has to tell you that mowing burns fuel—we mean, your own—but only if you aren’t sitting atop an electric one! Shift the position your arms sit on the handles and you’ll work your biceps and triceps from different angles. The many steps you walk around the lawn count, even more in hot weather. Even pushing the heavy machine forward works your glutes.
Rocking the garden. Prolonged action in one position can freeze your muscles up so alternate movements to give them a rest; for example, rake for a while, then dig holes, then prune. To increase the positive effects, concentrate on deep breathing while you work and increase your range of motion, exaggerating the raking or digging motion.
Bake and shake it. To be honest, a half hour of chopping veggies or washing pots and pans doesn’t really work up a sweat, but if you dance your way through prep and cleanup, you’ll not only expend more “fuel,” you’ll have a lot more fun.
See, opportunities to move are all around you. The point is, don’t beat up on yourself if you’ve started a complicated exercise routine and didn’t finish it. Just take an extra long look at the daily chores you’re already doing, and if you want to, revamp them and amp them up for added benefit. But whether large or small, when it comes down to it, any exercise is good as long as you use the fuel of life.