Shayna Schmidt | May 1, 2019
This article is a collaboration between Livekick’s Shayna Schmidt and guest contributor Sarah Miller.
Let's face it: movement should NOT just be restricted to workout sessions! The human body is designed to move. And there are many creative ways to add more movement into our daily lives to combat this whole “sitting is the new smoking” thing. In honor of May’s title as National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, we’d love to highlight some more "active" everyday activities that perhaps we can all aim to sneak in just a bit more this month.
Walking the dog is a great activity with some definite upsides: your four-legged personal trainer charges nothing to keep you motivated and pays you in furry love! Some people like to run with their dogs, ensuring their pups get a good workout. But some dogs — and certain breeds especially — either aren’t interested or simply can’t hold their own on a 5-mile run. But almost all dogs love a good walk, and it’s the perfect way to burn some extra calories while bonding with your pooch.
There’s something very meditative about pushing a mower back and forth across the lawn! Plus, it’s a practical way to burn serious calories – and, it won’t break the bank. A 170-pound person pushing a mower for just 15 minutes burns approximately 93 calories – this equates to briskly walking a mile in the same amount of time. Plus, pushing a lawnmower around can be a cool-down that has the added benefit of leaving your yard looking stellar. Mowing nice, straight lines across the lawn can also provide an oddly satisfying feeling, and lastly, it gets bonus points for forcing you to spend time outside!
This activity is quite similar to mowing the lawn, only now you’ve taken your meditative, repetitive motion indoors. You walk back and forth, knocking something off of your to-do list at the same time! Grocery shopping can be a great activity option on days when the weather is bad or your allergies are acting up. Plus, it’s a logical errand to hit on your way home from the gym, so it can be a great cool-down in that sense. If you’re looking to burn some extra calories, park further from the store’s entrance and avoid any elevators and escalators once inside. One caveat to this activity if using it as your cool-down: it can be a wallet-buster if you’re hungry from your workout!
This activity is also geared toward knocking something off of your to-do list. Household chores like folding laundry and vacuuming floors recruit more muscles than just your legs, and require more than just walking. Cleaning the bathroom mirror can engage your biceps, triceps, and lats — plus will leave you with a sparkling bathroom. Pushing a vacuum back and forth can certainly work the obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, diaphragm, and more. If it’s a carpet you’re vacuuming, the exercise can even mimic the metabolic “Sled Push” exercise, very popular among CrossFit athletes! Have we convinced you?! Instead of seeing your vacuuming chores as an arduous task, try viewing it as a way to strengthen those core muscles.
Sneaking in your cardio during your work commute is good for the environment, good for the body, and likely good for workplace productivity as well. While there aren’t many hard statistics on how many people run commute, the US Census Bureau shows that somewhere between 2 and 7 percent of employees walk to work. The League of American Bicyclists reported that in 2017, over 800,000 people bike commuted. NYC-based fitness professional Brian Gallagher says, “It’s free, allowing me to avoid using subways and cars. And I think in most cases, it’s actually quicker-- I’ll race a cab during rush hour… any takers?!”
While traditional aerobic activity and strength training are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, everyday activities can be a great way to get moving. Most of us can’t avoid doing these five activities in our everyday lives, and so we might as well make the most of them! Tack them onto the end of your workouts to use them as cool-down activities when working out from home, or stack a few in a row to create your own little creative movement combination. However you get them done, give kudos to yourself for keeping active. Wishing everyone a very happy National Physical Fitness & Sports Month!
Guest contributor Sarah Miller is a writer, self-claimed nutritionist, and CrossFit junkie. She spends most of her time meal prepping and actively trying to beat personal records in the gym, but always enjoys a meditative walk through a nearby woodland area or near a lake.