My family has started to take walks together in the evenings. When I say “walks” I really mean a slow-moving stroller that stops every several yards while my 3-year-old looks at every amazing thing along his path like a lonely potato bug or puddle of water. While I recognize this is not serious exercise, it’s still exercise as my workout tracker on my phone reported we had walked 1.5 miles and burned 120 calories. Nope, that’s not a lot, but at least it’s something. This got me thinking that we need to look more at our day and see where we can “count” exercise rather than avoiding it.
As I was doing research for this topic, I was drawn to an article on WebMD talking about workout routines. One of the first points in the article says, ”You don't need to run, sweat or grunt—any opportunity to partake in activity counts as exercise!” As a busy mom of three, sometimes I don’t get to the gym, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get in some exercise.
Here are some common ways you can get exercise without really knowing it: (Note: intensity, weight and gender change the amount of calories burned)
- One hour of general gardening burn 230 calories.
- Vigorous house cleaning burns 135 calories per hour.
- A 120 pound person burns 65 calories per mile walking.
- A 150 pound person burns 181 calories after 20 minutes of walking up stairs.
What the take-home message is from this research is that you can get your exercise in without having to have a formal plan in place. You can park your car in the back of the parking lot and walk into the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. I’m a huge fan of exploring new sports. For example, you can take up golf, tennis or racketball. Even if you are a beginner, these sports will get you moving and increase your fitness level. If you are interested in developing a new skill or ready to break out of your comfort zone, try a type of karate or yoga. I have several friends who have taken up karate as adults and absolutely love it.
As I work with people on health and fitness, I often hear the excuse, “I don’t like to go to the gym or I can’t afford a gym.” I understand both of these barriers, but there are so many other ways you can exercise without going to the gym. It just may take some creativity on your part to see where you can fit it in.