Life is busy. Whether you are in college, working, or at home raising a family, it can feel as though there is never enough to time get the everything done. Tackling a full day of work, homework, shuttling kids back and forth from activities, chores, and trying to find time for a social night out can leave little room for exercise.
Attempting to work traditional exercise routines into your busy lifestyle can be next to impossible and it can seem as though fitness goals will always remain out of reach. Fortunately, for those folks that are this busy, there are a variety of ways to incorporate exercise into necessary day-to-day activities. Doing so can help to build a workout out of normal tasks, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
Your fitness routine can be optimized in this way regardless of where you live, be it in a rural setting, a city, or in a dorm/apartment setting. Capitalizing on aspects of daily life that offer small amounts of fitness benefit throughout the day can ultimately make a substantial difference in your overall fitness. Below are a few ideas for your routine based on where you live.
Due to variations in land use regulations, more and more people are taking the leap into a rural style of living. A rural lifestyle offers numerous opportunities to incorporate fitness into daily life. Especially if you are doing any level of homesteading such as making your own food or raising livestock.
One of the most intensive homesteading chores that could be turned into a workout is butter churning. Traditional butter churning requires a considerable amount of pumping the churn or shaking a jar (much like the popular Shake Weight) full of fresh cream. Churning butter is an incredible arm, core, and cardio workout, with the added benefit of fresh butter when you’re finished. It is such a great workout that some gyms have incorporated it into an aerobics class!
Another rural chore that will get you feeling the burn is chopping wood. To many novices, wood chopping is considered an arm workout, but any regular chopper will tell you that it is a full core and cardio exercise. By chopping wood you can burn approximately 400-500 calories per hour! An additional 90 minutes stacking chopped wood may rack up another 300-400 calories.
Although the obvious exercise in daily chores cannot be found quite as easily in city life as it can be in rural life, there are still a number of ways to optimize your daily routine to maximize fitness benefits. One easy example is choosing to walk or bike to work rather than driving. A number of cities are designing neighborhoods with separate paths for these types of commuters, and it is making a big difference!
If you live in an apartment setting, another easy means of building more exercise into your daily routine is to take the stairs. Although you won’t burn an incredibly high number of calories — only an estimated 10 calories per minute of stair climbing — it certainly beats burning none by taking the elevator. Plus stair climbing has been found to be an exceptional way to increase muscle and bone health in addition to cardiovascular benefits.
Another means of getting exercise during your day-to-day activities is through gardening. Community and rooftop gardens are popping up all over the place these days, and many people are now experiencing the numerous benefits. For one, gardening is a low impact means of getting some daily exercise — on average gardeners burn 150 calories every 30 minutes. Additionally, some research indicates that regular gardeners are more likely to eat their daily vegetables and, in a community garden setting, are more likely to develop strong bonds with neighbors.
There are also a number of chores that you will inevitably end up doing regardless of whether you live in a rural or city setting. Much like those tasks mentioned above, these chores can also be capitalized upon for daily exercise goals. Chores such as vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping can burn a substantial amount of calories if done with exercise in mind.
Things such as calf raises while you wash dishes, squats while picking up toys, and lunges while vacuuming can also make a difference. Outdoors, consider washing the car by hand, hoeing the garden space, and cleaning the gutters exercise. Playing fast-beat music (greater than 120 beats per minute) can also increase the rate you exercise and help provide a mood-boosting distraction to some of your least favorite chores.
Finally, if you really want to incorporate more traditional exercise into life from the comfort of home, there are a variety of home cardio workouts that can easily be completed with minimal equipment. These exercises include things like jumping jacks, lunges, and jogging in place. Although not exactly associated with day-to-day chores and activities, all of these exercises provide excellent fitness benefits without the cost of a gym membership.
Fitting fitness into your daily life isn’t always easy. But by being aware of potential exercise benefits of daily chores and activities, it is possible to optimize your fitness no matter where you live.