11 activities that burn calories that don’t look like exercise

There are plenty of options when it comes to working out, from low-intensity options, like yoga or pilates, to more intense alternatives, like running or Orangetheory classes. But no matter what you choose, it takes time to exercise, and if you don’t enjoy exercising, it will be much more difficult to maintain it. Does that sound like you? If so, rest assured that experts say there are plenty of calorie-burning activities you can do that don’t feel like exercise at all.

“Movement doesn’t always have to happen on a machine, in the gym or even something you intentionally plan and structure,”Rachel MacPhersonsays , Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), CPT, and author of Garage Gym Reviews. “Especially if you’re trying to move more physically or just want to be more active, adding effective, natural activity into your day will make a big difference to your health and well-being.” your god.”

MacPherson, who is also a women’s health coach and pain-free performance expert, notes that improving your health includes increasing your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and to do so, You don’t have to join ClassPass or get rid of those old DVD assignments.

“Fortunately, some ways to increase your TDEE don’t require a structured workout routine,” she says.

If you’re looking for different options for exercise, read on for 11 activities you can do to increase your daily calorie burn.

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Believe it or not, one of your favorite hobbies can actually help you achieve your fitness goals.

“Gardening is not only a way to stay active, but it is also a fun, therapeutic and stress-reducing hobby,” MacPherson said. “Depending on your gardening chores, you can get a great workout while improving the look of your yard and enjoying a productive pastime.”

MacPherson notes that squatting, lifting, carrying and working with your arms are all involved in gardening and can build muscular endurance while increasing your heart rate.

Black woman's cleaning counter

Housekeeping is a part of everyday life whether you like it or not. But did you know that it can also burn some extra calories?

“Cleaning your home is one of the most effective ways to stay active,” says MacPherson. “Finding time to do housework is a challenge, especially if you work full-time or have children. Tasks like sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, clearing clutter, organizing, washing windows and scrubbing surfaces are all ways you can be proactive while getting your chores done. -make a list.”

Like gardening, this will get your heart rate up, meaning you can consider it a cardio workout to increase your TDEE.

“The variety of movements you make while cleaning builds functional strength and stability,” adds MacPherson. “You work in all planes of motion, bracing yourself to twist, rotate, lift and squat.”

RELATED: Why just walking 3,867 steps a day is all you need, Science Says.

Play tug of war with the dog
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Who doesn’t love spending time with a four-legged friend? If you have a dog at home, playing with them can help burn off some of their energy, while also helping you burn calories.

Gina NewtonCPTand holistic fitness trainers specifically recommend a game of tug-of-war, which can be great core work.

“When you do this, keep your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly,” she explains. “While playing tug of war, keep your core as strong as possible, [and] You’ll really feel this in your obliques and lower abs.”

If your dog doesn’t like tug-of-war, you can also take them for a walk, says Newton.

“Enjoy the fresh air and connect to the earth with every step of exercise and mindfulness!” she added.

rake leaves on the lawn
BOKEH STOCKS / Shutterstock

During the fall, raking leaves is often considered a chore, but if you change your perspective, it can also add some exercise into your day. According to Newton, the same goes for shoveling and sweeping.

“If you stay in shape, you can definitely sweat while shoveling,” she said.

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Grandparents play in the park with their grandchildren
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If you have children or grandchildren, you know that they often have a lot of energy to expend each day. So if you treat quality time with them as a workout, you’ll benefit yourself and the kids.

“Spending time with family is one of those tasks that seems impossible during busy days, but it is very rewarding and satisfying,” says MacPherson. “In addition, play is important for mental health and increases engagement while reducing symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.”

She suggests running around a local park, playing a game of tag, or challenging the kids to a race “for an excellent cardio workout.”

“If you want a more structured workout during this time, you can sprint, do pull-ups from a monkey bar, or create an obstacle course with exercises in each station”.

man cycling to work
MilanMarkovic78 / Shutterstock

Both walking and cycling are great forms of exercise, but if you do themsolitaryas a way to exercise, you might start to feel like just that: work. With that in mind, MacPherson suggests incorporating them into your daily life in a different way.

“Walking and cycling for transportation have been widely studied and contribute significantly to people’s health and well-being,” she explains. “Instead of facing traffic and potentially increasing your stress levels, try getting outdoors, as long as it’s safe to do so, and use your own body to get you from point A to point B .”

This doesn’t have to be limited to your commute either.

“You can walk or bike to run errands, visit friends, or go to appointments,” shares MacPherson. “Walking is the type of exercise I recommend most to my clients because it’s accessible and fun, easy to recover from, and [easy to] implement into their daily routine. Additionally, it improves heart, lung, joint, metabolic and mental health.”

RELATED: 8 ways to motivate yourself to walk every day.

Electric man washes house exterior walls

Another “exercise” you can do without leaving the house is power washing: Not only will your house look better, but you will too!

Based onJosh YorkCPT, founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, pressure washing “works your core, triceps, and shoulders.”

Don’t have an electric washing machine yet or plan to invest in one soon? York says painting with a roller can have a similar effect, working both your shoulders and triceps.

A senior couple smiles and dances together

One of the most fun ways to “work out” without feeling like you’re doing it is to turn on your favorite music and dance.

“Dancing is a fun social activity that improves balance and coordination (motor control), two aspects of fitness that are important for older adults,” MacPherson says. “Falls are one of the most common but most devastating risks as you age and are the biggest culprits in bone fractures that lead to loss of independence and decline in health.”

Rachel LovittCPT and holistic movement coach, notes that dance fitness classes are also great ways to get moving, and even though you’re taking a class, it won’t feel like you’re working out if you like it.

“Dancing is great for your heart, coordination, and balance. Focusing on the movements/choreography helps you forget you’re exercising, especially if you love music!” Lovitt said. “Zumba is a very popular dance fitness class that helps increase your heart rate and hip movements! Adult dance classes are becoming increasingly popular so if you’ve ever wanted to try ballet, hip There has never been a better time for hop or tap dance.”

Lovitt also suggests ballroom dancing “if you feel more comfortable in a 1:1 setting,” but notes that it “won’t be the most financially accessible option.”

RELATED: The 50 Best 5-Minute Exercises Anyone Can Do.

Mow the grass on a sunny day.

There are plenty of things you can do at home that get your heart rate up, including mowing the lawn. Even if you don’t have to endure the hot summer sun, you still have to move your body and push some heavy machinery.

According to Newton, depending on the size and shape of your lawn, you can structure your work as it will involve “a lot of walking/footwork.”

In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing, depending on your weight and whether you’re using a lawn mower or lawnmower, you can burn between 135 and 231 calories in just 30 minutes of mowing.

Woman holding shopping bags selling goods.  Consumerism, shopping, lifestyle concept

Who doesn’t love an excuse to shop? Shopping is another way you can get active and burn calories, since you’re putting in your steps just by walking through stores and shopping malls. What’s even better is that you often have to carry bags or push heavy carts at the same time.

Speaking of which, according to Harvard Health Publishing, a 30-minute shopping cart will burn between 85 and 126 calories.

Swim with children in the pool
Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock

Last on the list of activities that don’t feel like exercise is swimming. MacPherson admits that swimming can be a “purposeful exercise,” but points out that it can also be an activity you just do for fun (with the calorie-burning aspect as a nice bonus).

“Swimming can improve cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels, flexibility, endurance, blood pressure, resting heart rate, and reduce body fat when done vigorously enough,” she explains. “For fun, try doing races with your child, playing water balloons or monkeying around with a ball or water tag.”

Best Life provides the most up-to-date information from leading experts, new research and health authorities, but our content is not intended to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to medications you are taking or any other health questions you have, always consult directly with your healthcare provider.

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