Although the CDC recommends 2.5 hours of aerobic activity and 2 days of strength training per week, you certainly don’t have to spend that time in a gym or in only 2-3 hardcore workouts. In fact, exercise can be defined as any activity that elevates your heart rate. You don’t have to wear expensive workout clothing or buy specialized equipment to participate. There are many activities you participate in every day which can be considered exercise!
These activities are recognized for their value: non-exercise activity thermogenesis. In fact, the Compendium of Physical Activities provides the proof you need that everyday activities DO count as exercise, by providing the MET (metabolic equivalent) for things you do without considering them exercise.
The Metabolic Equivalent is used by researchers and other experts to measure activity. It is defined as the energy it takes to sit still. This equates to approximately one calorie per every 2.2 pounds of body weight per hour for the average adult. For example, someone who weighs 160 pounds would burn approximately 70 calories an hour while sitting or sleeping. Activities of moderate intensity are those which cause you to burn between 3 and 6 calories, and vigorous intensity activities burn more than 6 METs.
These activities are recognized for their value as good calorie burners while being common to any adult, even those who do not participate on regular athletic activities! So, go ahead, turn common everyday tasks into calorie-burning workouts!
Dancing as Exercise
Put on some fast music, and you will find yourself grooving (and in a better mood). The truth is, few people DISLIKE dancing of some type, and it is the type of activity that can be done anywhere, with no specialized equipment needed, provided you have music. There are types of dancing which burn MORE calories and are more intense (like breakdancing), but even slow ballroom dancing has a MET of 3.
Shopping as Exercise
For most people, shopping involves walking. To make it more challenging (and exercise-worthy), consider carrying your groceries in reusable shopping bags instead of pushing a cart. This provides an upper body workout at the same time and could even prevent buying more food than you really need!
Housecleaning as Exercise
Heavy housework like vacuuming, moving furniture, scrubbing floors/bathrooms is physically demanding, and burns calories. The METs for these types of activities range from 3.5 to 6.5, depending on how hard you are scrubbing. Weight Watchers even promotes a “Housework Workout” to encourage bouts of physical activity throughout an average week.
Play Video Games as Exercise
Before you nix the idea of playing video games as a form of exercise, consider the growth of active gaming. This is a very positive form of exercise, one which you can share with your children, and combine the fitness benefits of exercise with the cognitive benefits of playing video games. You will find more variety of active video games on the market than in the past; from dancing to virtual sports, there are many options for blending the two activities. Added benefits to this activity are the social engagement and element of fun.
Play a Musical Instrument as Exercise
Not only do you strengthen your lungs playing a variety of musical instruments, but you can burn some serious calories! In one hour of playing, METs can range from 1.8 (playing an accordion) to 3.8 (playing the drums).
Use Active vs. Passive Transportation
This idea has been promoted in schools and communities for years attempting to reduce emissions, congestion, and the sedentary lifestyles which children are facing. Park in the back of a lot and walk to the store. Walking (for transportation) has a met of 3.5, while riding in a car is 1.3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; climbing stairs rates an 8.0.
Walk the Dog as Exercise
Push yourself (and Sparky) farther by combining walking and sprinting. Once you are dressed for walking, you may find yourself more motivated than you thought. Even slow walking provides an MET of 3.0 and adding a sprint in the activity raises it to 8.3 for the average runner’s speed.
Go Bowling as Exercise
Not only does this activity have a MET of 3.0, but provides the added benefits of building muscle, stretching ligaments, and improvement of balance and hand-eye coordination. As a social activity, you can visit with you friends, have a friendly competition, wear some cool shoes and burn calories too!
Shovel Snow as Exercise
Millions of people in the Northeast part of the country will agree: shoveling snow could be an Olympic sport. It provides cardio and weight training and can burn up to 220 calories in 30 minutes, equivalent to an aerobic workout! So, start your New Year right with a snowstorm!
Stand Instead of Sit More
In addition to improving the strength in your core and lower extremities, standing more and sitting LESS is beneficial to one’s health. This one may be more about what you should do less rather than what you should do more. Sitting has been linked to poorer health, from obesity to diabetes to cancer. A 2012 British study found that the average office worker sits nearly 6 hours each day, so standing is one way to break up the monotony of a desk-based life. You may not burn a lot more calories, but you will be improving your posture, your health, and your well-being.
So, before you ditch the idea of being fit because you dislike exercising, consider these common activities. When you combine them in a week, you will be amazed at the number of calories you can burn without hitting the gym or putting in a workout DVD.
PowerLung Use with Exercise
No matter what activities you choose to participate in, respiratory muscle training can improve your breathing. More efficient breathing provides lasting benefits to all types of people, from athletes to those with respiratory issues, to people simply looking to improve their health. PowerLung has a variety of respiratory muscle training devices to suit each of these types of users, to fit their lung training needs.