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Not Your Typical Exercise

walking up steps

What if I hate exercising??

Exercise doesn't have to be a chore, and some of the activities you are already doing "count" toward the recommended 150 minutes per week. So stop feeling bad about not exercising, and instead look for creative ways to move your body!

If you are looking for ways to incorporate movement into your day on purpose, that feel less like an obligation, read on to discover the surprising ways you can get more exercise into your day!

Thousands of research studies have shown that incorporating exercise into your day is essential for both physical and mental health. It strengthens your heart muscles, maintains the integrity of your lung tissue, improves balance, can strengthen bones and prevent breaks later in life. It helps the brain to detoxify and reduce inflammation. Exercise increases the happy hormones in the body and produces endorphins which give us natural energy and concentration long after you've stopped. Consistent movement practices improve both short- and long-term memory by creating new neuropathways and strengthening the ones you already have. And these are just a FEW of the benefits of regular exercise.

But "working out" can have a negative connotation for many people. I mean, it's even called "work," which can imply that it has to be hard or challenging. Now, you know I'm all for people challenging themselves and pushing a little harder to be the kind of person they want to be. But does it all have to be SO difficult?!

The answer is: NO!!

So, how can you incorporate movement into your day, on purpose, to protect your physical and mental health in a way that feels sustainable?

The emerging consensus among experts is that there is no right way to add movement. Anything is better than nothing, and doing at least 30 minutes (total) of movement per day is the most beneficial.But what if you can't get to a class due to location or time constraints? What if the thought of "hitting the gym" sounds just awful? Great news! Activities you may be doing regularly also count as exercise and absolutely count toward your daily output!

Take a look at this graphic and read on to learn what counts as exercise, and just how much it takes. Some of these activities require a greater time investment to get the full benefits. However, if you're completing a task you already had to do, AND it counts as exercise, it could make you feel better about how your day went!

Purposeful Movement (1)

Yard Work:

Raking, Mowing the Lawn, Weeding. They all count! Have you ever spent an afternoon in the spring or summer pulling weeds and cleaning up the yard? I know I have, and sometimes I'm really feeling it the next day. Sore muscles, and that deep tired that comes from putting in some serious exertion.



Put on your favorite music and get moving! There is no right way to dance, and you can do it in the privacy of your own space - unless you want to spend the night out with friends old and new! The benefits of dancing are the same as exercise, and some people believe it creates even more of the happy hormones we enjoy from movement.

Brisk Walking:

30 minutes to one hour of walking is wonderful. How do you define brisk? It should take about 15 minutes to walk a mile. Many fitness trackers, smart watches and even the health app on your phone can track this metric for you. If you're at a different pace, no worries - you will still get health benefits! The key is to move your body in a way that feels natural and sustainable. If you are starting from zero, a short walk halfway around the block may be enough to get your blood pumping and give you a sense of accomplishment.


Heavy Housework:

Washing windows, vacuuming, even laundry if you're toting full baskets up and down stairs. Thirty minutes of any of these activities gives you the same benefit of 30 minutes of what we might typically consider "exercise."

riding a bike

Light Bicycling:

This isn't your typical spinning class! We're talking a leisurely bike ride through the neighborhood. At a pace of about 10 miles per hour, you should still be able to have a conversation with someone next to you. If you're adding in hills and picking up speed, that's even more effective - but not required! Again, the key is to do what feels good and sustainable, and celebrate the activity!

Opportunities for purposeful movement are everywhere. Your quality of life and quantity of years can increase by regularly incorporating something into your routine, but it doesn't have to be rigid, and it certainly doesn't have to be boring! So look for movement that is outside our typical definition of "exercise," and get moving!

Know someone who could benefit from learning about easy ways they can "count" some exercise in their day? SHARE it with them!

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