Feeling guilty because you haven’t gone to the gym lately? Here’s some good news: Many of your daily activities, as well as some of the fun things you do with family and friends, can be just as effective!
Around the House
Housework. An hour of sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, making beds, and washing dishes can torch 200+ calories. Washing windows can burn another 229 calories. And if you scrub floors on your hands and knees, you can easily expend an impressive 465 calories. As a bonus, you’ll also build muscle strength and coordination. Plus you’ll have a clean house!
Gardening. Regarded as “moderate exercise” by the American Heart Association, gardening burns anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour, which is about the same as a moderate workout at the gym. And, if you do some heavy-duty tasks like hauling dirt, digging, mowing the lawn, or raking leaves, you work the muscles in both your upper and lower body, enhance functional movement, and increase your bone density.
Depending on what you enjoy, look into these fun, fitness-focused activities:
Batter up! Local softball or baseball leagues can be a great way to stay fit while having fun. Check out the YMCA or YWCA for games near you.
Pickleball. This senior community favorite is a hybrid of table tennis, badminton, and tennis. Gaining popularity in communities throughout America, it’s played on a badminton court with paddles and a lowered net. Check out https://usapickleball.org/ for more information.
Hiking. Along with improving your cardiovascular fitness, hiking can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, boost bone density, build muscle strength in your legs, strengthen your core, and expand your lung capacity. What’s more, you can burn more than 450 calories per hour on the trails. As a bonus, spending time in nature can lower stress and anxiety and foster a more positive sense of self.
Dancing. If you find yourself busting a move when your favorite song comes on the radio, go out dancing with your friends or significant other. There are all kinds of dance classes to choose from, including country, hip hop, salsa, and ballroom dancing. Along with burning calories and developing better coordination, strength, balance, and flexibility, you may gain a new set of friends who meet for regular social outings.
Share a laugh with friends. Spending just 15 minutes laughing can burn up to 40 calories, depending on your weight and laughter intensity. An American College of Healthcare Sciences study reports that a good belly laugh also boosts your immune system, reduces stress, lowers blood sugar levels, and works your abdominals.
Play with your kids or grandkids. Relay races or a game of touch football improve coordination and can get your heart rate up enough to be considered moderate-intensity exercise. Even classics like tag, jumping rope, or hula hooping can count as physical activity.
Stay fit with these no-workout “exercise snacks”
Even small changes can add up when it comes to fitness.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- When running errands, park in the farthest corner of the parking lot.
- Or ditch the car and try walking to the store instead of driving.
- Play music while doing chores. You’ll work faster and burn more calories.
- If you have a dog, take them for a minimum 20-minute walk each a day.