5 Everyday Activities You're Already Doing That Count as Exercise

hands pushing a grocery cart
Even pushing a grocery cart through the aisles can build strength and endurance.

by Mary Lambkin

If you're busy looking after your home, office, and family, you're probably exhausted at the end of the day — as a matter of fact, everyday life can be quite a workout! Completing everyday activities can help you burn calories, build strength, and stay healthy without requiring much extra effort. You can even use your everyday healthy habits as motivators to make it to the gym. If you're already doing at least one of the following activities on a regular basis, you're making progress toward a healthier self!

1. Shopping

Shopping online may earn points for convenience, but shopping in person earns points for cardio. Head to the mall or grocery store and feel your heart rate rise as you enjoy this activity! Add in an additional strength workout by pushing a cart, carrying bags, and loading up your trunk. Everyone's different, of course, but a half-hour trip to the grocery store could help the average adult burn 102 calories or more!

Take it to the next level: If you enjoy meandering through the halls of the shopping mall, you might also enjoy a walk on the treadmill. Catch up on your favorite TV show or listen to a podcast while you set a pace that feels comfortable. You may not even remember you're working out!

2. Walking the Dog

A simple stroll around the block can be one of the best everyday activities for both mental and physical health. Not only can the walk do your body good, but the fresh air and sunshine can also boost your attitude — not to mention it's a great opportunity to spend some time bonding with and exercising your pup!

Take it to the next level: Partner up with a buddy at the gym as you would with your animal companion around the neighborhood. The company of both can help you stay motivated to meet your fitness goals!

3. Cleaning

Cleaning the house can make you proud of your home and your health! Bending over and stretching to reach dusty corners helps build flexibility, and moving furniture or a heavy mop around can contribute to your strength. Going up and down the stairs, pushing the vacuum around, and wiping down the counters can boost your cardio endurance, and scrubbing floors for 30 minutes alone could burn around 130 calories!

Take it to the next level: If the challenge of a messy home makes you rise to the occasion, try heading to the gym for a challenging strength workout. A well-rounded routine that includes a good mix of exercises can help keep you engaged and motivated as you move through each leg of your workout in anticipation of the next challenge!

4. Taking the Stairs

Everyone knows that one of the best "healthy hacks" is taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you didn't have time to make it to the gym before work, try parking in the farthest spot from your building and taking the stairs up to your office. A few minutes of walking and climbing could burn up to 50 calories — enough to counteract eating a handful of potato chips at lunch!

Take it to the next level: The stair climber can be a great next step if you've already built a base for the workout by walking up the stairs at your home or office. Not only can this machine build cardiovascular endurance, but it can also strengthen your glutes, calves, and hamstrings.

5. Chasing After the Kids

A simple game of tag, Frisbee, or hide-and-seek can help keep the whole family healthy. Spend 30 minutes outside trying to keep up with your kids to boost both your mental and physical well-being. Twenty minutes of playing with your kids at the playground could burn 90 calories! Cold or rainy outside? Try building a pillow fort, having a dance party, or embarking on a scavenger hunt in the comfort of your own home.

Take it to the next level: If you enjoy a good game, try heading to the gym for a fitness challenge! Set some objectives and see if you can work your way toward solo success, or work out with a buddy to enjoy some friendly competition. If you have a competitive mindset, see how many reps you can complete in a set amount of time!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.