10 everyday tasks that count as exercise

February 2023

 It can be difficult to find the time to get to the gym or sign up for a fitness class—we live busy lives with a lot going on and fitting exercise into your schedule may feel impossible. And an aggressive exercise routine doesn’t feel attainable or sustainable to everyone. 

But don’t be discouraged because exercise can be so much more than just hitting the treadmill, lifting weights, or participating in group fitness classes. You may be doing more exercise each day than you ever realized. 

The good news is that your body doesn't know the difference between carrying your grocery bags from your car to your kitchen or lifting barbells in the gym. 

Here are a few everyday ways to burn calories without even noticing:

1. Clean your house

Sweeping, vacuuming, doing the dishes, or the laundry—whatever task you are working on, doing housework can get your blood pumping and is a great way to add exercise into your day without actually going to the gym.

2. Rearrange the furniture

Bored with your living room layout? Lifting and rearranging furniture keeps arm, leg, and back muscles energized.

3. Do some yard work 

Between mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and raking leaves, you’re sure to feel the burn! So next time you are working in your garden, remember that all that work counts as physical activity. 

4. Paint a room

Freshen your space with a new coat of paint. Sure, it’s more of a weekend project, but from prep to finishing touches you can burn 350+ calories per hour.

5. Shop for groceries

Believe it or not, a leisurely stroll through the grocery store helps keep you active. Whether you’re carrying a basket or pushing a cart, strolling through the grocery store is a great way to get more activity in your day.

6. Wash your car

Not only is it cheaper than having a professional wash and wax but detailing your own car is going to get you moving, bending, and probably breaking a sweat! 

7. Play with the kids

What better way to keep you moving and get your blood pumping than chasing your kids in good fun?

8. Walk your dog

Sure, you may be walking your dog a few times a day to ensure they get their exercise. But don’t forget that you’re also getting your steps in while taking your pooch for a stroll. 

9. Get laughing

Ever notice how your abs hurt when you get a really great laugh going? Laughter not only burns calories—about 10-40 calories for every 15 minutes of laughing—it also reduces your cortisol levels and boosts your metabolism. So next time someone tells a great joke, don’t hold back!

10. Shovelling snow

This is Canada after all! And from November to March, there is going to be some snow that needs shovelling. If you’re looking to add more to your exercise routine, why not offer to shovel your neighbour’s driveway once you’re done shovelling your driveway?

Another word for exercise is movement. And when you stop to think about it, you are moving every day. Whether you’re walking from your car to a store, mopping your floor, or climbing a set of stairs, you’re moving. 

So next time you’re looking to increase your exercise, look at the way you move each day. Think about parking farther away from an entrance or walking to your destination if that is a possibility. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find small ways to increase your physical activity that can add up to a big impact. 

Learn how your routine fitness activities can help earn you rewards with Manulife Vitality.

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