When you hear the word workout or exercise what comes to mind? I imagine most people would respond by saying, “running, going to the gym, playing a sport, or training for a marathon.” Believe it or not, none of those things sound appealing to me, at least at this time in my life. So how am I supposed to burn calories if I’m not willing to take part in these conventional ways of exercise?
My typical day is filled with chasing kids, changing diapers, picking up the house, and running my home business. In addition to those tasks, my favorite hobby is decorating and constantly changing the interior of our home. Call me crazy, but most weeks include me rearranging furniture in a room (by myself), starting a new project such as tearing out flooring, hanging trim, or painting, and fixing broken appliances or furniture around the house. Doing that type of work really fuels me. I love it.
For years I thought this type of activity didn’t count as exercise because it wasn’t the “traditional” way to burn calories. But now I know if it gets me off the couch and excited about doing something, then it absolutely counts. Sure, I’m not going to get the same results I would going to the gym and targeting a specific area of my body, but my main goal is to get active, break a little sweat, and burn some calories.
What sealed the deal for me was when Robynn got me a Fitbit after I had my 3rd child. I began wearing that every day and I learned that, by doing stuff around the house, I could get 5 miles of walking in. Isn’t that crazy?! In order to reach this daily goal I needed to be on my feet a lot of the day–so I purposely made extra trips putting clothes away while doing laundry or taking the long way around to go get something–but it was worth it because I was getting my steps in without really thinking about it. And I didn’t dread it!
The point is, you don’t have to limit yourself to traditional exercise in order to burn calories and walk several miles. Here is a list of a few more non-traditional ways to exercise:
- Walking: My sister lost ten pounds by walking in her living room. Yes, that’s right, just walking in place in front of the television!
- Timed Test: Growing up, I absolutely hated timed tests in school. Now that I am older, I’ve found a timed test that I benefit from and somewhat enjoy. After putting my tennis shoes on—to get myself moving quickly around the house—I time myself when needing to complete tasks. I know I can clean off the kitchen counters and unload/reload the dishwasher in four minutes and fifty-four seconds! If I am dreading going through the junk piles of mail and randomness, I set the timer for five minutes and see if I can get through everything before the timer buzzes. Sometimes I even ask my kids to challenge me on tasks for moral support and accountability to finish. They hold the timer and give me the countdown. I literally run through the house in order to beat the clock. If I don’t finish it in time, I set the timer again. This not only gets my heart rate up but it helps me be more efficient with my time.
- Phone Time: I don’t enjoy walking on the treadmill but I learned that if I call someone and talk when I am on it, I can easily get 2 miles of walking in without really realizing it. I wear an earpiece for my phone, so I don’t have to hold it up to my ear, and I chat away as a walk. Is there someone that you call every day that you could do this with? If, for instance, you call a family member and you usually visit for 20 minutes a day, could you walk around the house or on a treadmill while you do this? Many times we eat while we are on the phone or we sit down. I know eating is a waste of calories for me because I can’t truly enjoy the food since I am distracted by talking on the phone. Now that I have replaced my phone time by walking, it is a win-win.
Part 1: What are some ways you can get 5-10 minutes of non-traditional exercise in your day? i.e. Timing yourself as you clean to get your heart-rate up, create an obstacle course for your kids that you participate in, volunteering to walk you neighbor’s dog.
Part 2: What level #peace does non-traditional exercise give you? (Use the Peace Chart below)