Feeling great: Everyday activities are exercise

Walking is good for you says a correspondent. See letter
Walking is good for you says a correspondent. See letter

Got asked this question last week by a client who wanted to know:

“I wish I could go to the gym but I find it hard to find the time! Are there things we can do everyday (without going to the gym), that count as good exercise?”

It’s been proven that short bursts of higher intensity exercise are really beneficial for our health when we’re strapped for time. Of course we all know that running on the treadmill gets our heart rate up and that doing pilates can help build our core, but what most people don’t realise is that there are plenty of opportunities during your day to sneak exercise into your routine while also crossing things off your to-do list.

It’s a win-win! Not every workout has to include a 6-mile run or an intense workout session in the gym.

So if you find yourself struggling to get a daily workout in – here’s some everyday activities that you can count as a exercise and not feel strapped for time…

Walking - Ok, this one might sound obvious – and it is! But walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise.

Walking at a good pace is still a cardiovascular output so you don’t need to be running outside or on a treadmill. At some point everyday, you will be walking, so try to add some more time and distance while you’re doing it. Even just walking for 20 minutes a day can count towards daily exercise.

And if you find it ‘boring’ – why not walk with friends, listen to your favourite music, or pick a destination you want to walk to and enjoy a tea or coffee when you get there?

Taking The Stairs - Again, another one I’m sure you’ve heard before – but the stairs are one of the easiest ways to get more activity into your day. Everyone knows how tough the stairs are – that’s why we invented lifts and escalators.

But walking up the stairs is great! You have to use your body weight to make your way up them, and you engage all of the muscles in your legs while using the stairs too. So next time you have the option between taking the lift or the stairs – stop, think about it, and take the stairs instead.

Cleaning - Have you ever noticed after scrubbing a floor or cleaning the bathroom that you find yourself feeling tired and a bit hot? That’s because cleaning the house, believe it or not, is actually a good workout and can be a decent calories burn, especially if it’s a household chore where you’re constantly engaged.

Shopping - My mam’s favourite thing to do! Whether you’re buying the weekly food shop, or hunting down the perfect new pair of shoes, shopping means walking, and walking burns calories – up to 200 per hour if you’re walking at a good pace.

Take the stairs instead of the escalator, park your car further away so you can get more steps in, take the longer route round the shops .

Gardening - Weeding, watering, carrying heavy bags of soil, cutting the lawn, planting pots will definitely get a good burn on and engage a lot of your muscles.

Not just that, but getting outside to take care of the garden means you get out in the fresh air and exposed to plenty of sunlight – and we’ve all heard how good vitamin D is for you.

So next time you have a sunny day, take advantage of it and get moving in the garden – it’s even classed a moderate to high intensity exercise!

The more activities you can fit in the day, the more physically active you are, so use that as an excuse to get all your errands done. It may make doing them more ‘enjoyable’ – if that’s possible