Everything is Exercise

Yesterday afternoon I was standing in the kitchen doing “push-ups” against the counter. My two little guys came in and said, “What are you doing? Is that exercise?” I laughed and said, “I call it a counter push-up.” My little boys and I then had a conversation about how they move all day long and then my 5-year old said, “I guess everything is exercise.”

I agreed with him and then I realized how right he was. If you aren’t sleeping or sitting on your bottom, then every movement you make throughout the day burns a few calories and keeps your metabolism elevated. That is important any time of the year, but particularly during the holiday season when food and social occasions abound.

Here’s a list of calories burned doing some everyday activities from the Harvard Medical School.

Activity, at 125 lbs, 155 lbs and 185 lbs – 30 minutes 

Sleeping 19 23 28
Watching TV 23 28 33
Reading: sitting 34 42 50
Standing in line 38 47 56
Cooking 75 93 111
Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc. 105 130 155
Food Shopping: with cart 105 130 155
Moving: unpacking 105 130 155
Playing w/kids: moderate effort 120 149 178
Heavy Cleaning: wash car, windows 135 167 200
Child games: hop-scotch, jacks, etc. 150 186 222
Playing w/kids: vigorous effort 150 186 222
Moving: household furniture 180 223 266
Moving: carrying boxes 210 260 311

You can see that everything counts when it comes to burning calories – even standing in line – which I totally hate. Now I can kinda “enjoy” the line standing experience realizing that for my weight I burn about 47 calories just standing there. I guess that’s better than nothing.

As you go throughout your day, I challenge you to find ways to stay busy and moving. Stand when you can, walk instead of riding and keep a set of hand weights near your desk, television or under your kitchen counter.

Do you have any strategies to keep moving and staying active this time of year? Diane

13 thoughts on “Everything is Exercise

  1. blackhuff says:

    “And out of the mouth of the innocent will come the truth.”
    Children speak such truth and I happen to agree with your son as well. Everything one do is exercise.

  2. Karen says:

    I was on a twitter chat last night and there were ideas flying of how people fit exercise into their days without “exercising.” Made me realize I may be lazier than I thought!

  3. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    I try to keep moving & even at the computer, I seem to be restless. I do walk up & down my household stairs a lot too!

    I am headed to do some of that sleep burning calories now that I got the workout done! 🙂

  4. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I try to be conscious about moving around more this time of year, as it’s just too easy to move a lot less… I often make “extra” trips up and down the stairs on purpose. I also try to add short bursts of exercise throughout the day (push ups, squats, lunges, etc), each lasting only about 5 minutes. My goal is three “exercise breaks” per day.

  5. Desert Agave says:

    I should probably focus on this more. I’m pretty good about getting my workouts in, but when I’m not working out I spend a lot of time sitting down. It would be good to get more active in my normal, day-to-day life.

  6. Jane says:

    This is such a great post for those of us who consider ourselves to be a bit “exercise-challenged.” It has challenged me to figure out ways that I can move more and thus get some of the exercise that my body needs just to maintain muscle mass. It’s a very doable concept. When I go to the nursing home today, to see my mother, I will walk through the halls a couple of extra times–the same for the grocery store. We also keep weights near the TV, so all I need to do is use them. Thanks for the very timely post.

  7. Dr. J says:

    You can add gum chewing and fidgeting to your list, Diane

    Being an active person is key. Most everyone was that way once. If you no longer are, you have learned how not to be active, and you need to remediate yourself forward to the past!

  8. Sagan says:

    Haha, that’s funny because this is totally the way I live my life.

    I stand at my computer instead of sit. I only sit for a few hours each day at my job; the rest of the time I make a point of standing up while I work. I also make a point of cleaning my condo daily, because just tidying up and moving around can help with the everyday activity.

    I am ALL ABOUT the lifestyle activity! It’s my favourite kind of exercise 🙂

  9. Lisa says:

    BUT at the same time we can’t rely on “sleeping” and “moving boxes” as our “calorie burns.” That’s not sufficient for healthy living!

  10. Hanlie says:

    After I started Pilates classes, my whole philosophy about standing in line changed. I could suddenly see it as an opportunity to become and remain aware of my posture for the duration of my wait. It has helped me become more mindful.

  11. 'Drea says:

    I’m pretty good about exercising on a regular basis but my biggest challenge is moving around at work. I try to find a reason to get away from my desk — even if it’s choosing to retrieve a document from a printer that’s not in my office…

  12. John says:

    My plan this winter was to do outdoor activities instead of hibernate like I usually do. Over a month ago I bought a new pair of skates and once or twice a week I skate for 50 minutes. Now that the snow is here I’m planning on buying either cross country skis or snowshoes. And I’ll still run even when I’m freezing my family jewels off 🙂

  13. Leah says:

    The busy-ness of shopping, baking, school functions, standing at the dinner table wrapping gifts, etc. etc. has helped me stay on my feet. 🙂

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