Only 23% of US adults meet all weekly exercise recommendations Centers for Disease Control and Preventioneven though research has shown that people do understand the health benefits of exercise and want to work harder.
So what gives? There are many reasons why people stop exercising. You may not have enough time or energy, or you may not have the equipment or gear you need.
But for now you can imaginesports bras and when you think of “exercise” you don’t think of it to have to meet the CDC’s physical activity guidelines. In fact, the CDC’s 2018 National Health Statistics Report, which contains this 23% statistic, does not mention the word “exercise” once. Instead, it’s all about physical activity and movement—for work, play, or as prescribed by your doctor.
For most of human history, physical activity has been incorporated into people’s daily lives in the form of work and household chores. These days, people spend a lot more time sitting still on couches, desks, and cars. But our lives still require physical movement every day, and it can be easier to meet your daily exercise quota with activities you still need to do (like mowing the lawn) than to carve out extra time for a specific workout.
Rethinking your idea of exercise can inspire you to be even more active — and you won’t necessarily lose anything if you skip the gym in favor of sweeping. Here’s what you need to know.
Can daily activities really count as exercise?
The short answer is yes. “Your body can’t tell the difference between bending over to pull a weed and bending over to pick up a kettlebell,” explains Robert C. Herbstpersonal trainer and world champion powerlifter.
Experts divide exercise into two categories: formal and informal. According to Mike Murphy, Owner and Chief Physiotherapist of Ireland FAST in the clinic, most people do not perceive informal exercise as real exercise. “Perhaps this is because informal exercise is difficult to quantify – one hour of walking seems easier to quantify than cleaning the house. But the reality is that many daily tasks use much more energy than light exercise,” Murphy said.
“Every day walking up and down the stairs, to the shops, carrying things, hanging clothes to dry etc. – all these actions accumulate, and over weeks and months they can significantly affect our energy balance (significantly contributing to weight gain or weight loss), – he continued.
In fact, even some formal training deliberately imitate “primary movement patterns that represent our daily movement patterns throughout life,” such as squatting, pushing, pulling, and twisting, as Brian Nunes, Nike Master Trainer and Performance Coach. These programs are known as “functional learning.” Meanwhile, a training regimen that involves casual activities rather than formal exercise is also called NEAT exercise, or non-exercise thermogenesis.
So, in short, don’t discount all the physical activity you do without intending to do it. Non-exercise activities are a great way to not only improve your health, but also make tasks easier and reduce your risk of injury (no more straining your muscles carrying groceries).
Here are 10 everyday activities that experts say count as exercise.
Yard or lawn care
Anyone who has ever mowed a lawn by hand in the height of summer knows it’s a real workout. Nunes explains, “In addition to its low impact and cardiovascular benefits, lawn mowing requires a lot of functional primary movement patterns during setup, mowing, and cleanup.”
Other types of yard work that are great exercise include gardening, weeding, snow or leaf removal, and more.
Who says an hour-long daily walk can’t be through the aisles of Target? Seriously, errands often involve a lot of walking, carrying, lifting, and other movements.
House cleaning can involve a wide range of physical movements – going up and down stairs, moving things from room to room, pushing and pulling a mop or broom, and more.
Walking the dog
Need I say more? You may be busier training your puppy during your daily walk, but don’t forget that you are also taking steps during this time.
You may have heard it. But getting up and moving your body every 30 minutes or so is good, and walking is great exercise, period—whether it’s to the mailbox, down the hall to wave at a coworker, or grab a bite to eat.
The “I’m late” sprint.
If you use public transportation regularly, you’ll probably get plenty of light to moderate intensity activity throughout the day just by getting on the bus or train. And if you’re running late and you need to run a little, it takes all the more effort.
Playing with children
Do you have children in your life? Getting involved in their game, rather than watching from the nearest couch or bench, will leave you breathless pretty quickly.
Maybe you love going to dances, or maybe you’re more of a “solo pajama dance party” type of person. Either way, know that dancing can be a full-body workout and a great cardio workout.
Ever heard of “laughter yoga”? one 2014 study found that laughter yoga is a better abdominal workout than crunches or back lifts. So the more humor you find in your day, the better.
Learn more about getting in shape without the gymand .
The information contained in this article is for informational and informative purposes only and is not intended to provide health or medical care. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have about your health or health care goals.