How to get fit without leaving your home and garden

How many times have you skipped a run or an exercise class? Sometimes life just gets in the way and whether it’s a deficit of time or money holding you back, keeping fit can be a struggle.

Shovelling snow for 30 minutes burns 200 calories, researchers found (photo: Adobe)
Shovelling snow for 30 minutes burns 200 calories, researchers found (photo: Adobe)

But staying in shape doesn’t have to cost a lot or shave hours off your day.

The same benefits of an exercise class, for instance, could be achieved through various tasks around the home and garden – all contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

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And some chores can even burn more calories than popular exercises, new research has found.

Mowing the lawn burns more calories than water aerobics, researchers found (photo: Adobe)

For example, moving furniture burns off 233 calories – more than swimming (218 calories) for the same 30 minutes of activity, according to the study from stairlift and home lift company Stannah.

It found that shovelling snow shifts more calories than doubles tennis; and mowing the lawn uses up more energy than water aerobics.

“Exercise is important for us all and should include both cardio and strength exercises,” said Kate Sheehan, occupational therapist for Stannah from The OT Service.

"This can be achieved by joining organised group activities such as Pilates, a spin class or a circuit training session.

"However, organised activities are not for everyone and therefore it is essential that we look at activities that provide the same benefits and provide purpose and meaning in our lives.

“To enable activity (both cardio and strength) to be part of our day-to-day activities they need to be enjoyable to us and not seen as a chore, so if you are gardening, heavy digging will give you that cardio and strength workout, whilst doing something that brings your personal fulfilment.

"If spending time with your grandchildren is what’s important to you, pushing the pram to the park, lifting a child and pushing them on a swing will give you the necessary workout whilst doing something that brings you joy.”

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Researchers tracked and analysed fitness app MyFitnessPal data to establish the calories burnt during 30 minutes of activity, across exercises such as swimming and yoga, as well as everyday errands including gardening and cooking.

“The most important thing is to never stop moving, bending, stretching, and reaching as this will improve your health, mobility and flexibility, and ultimately, your physical and mental well-being,” said Kate.

The top 10 calorie-busting everyday activities are:

Moving furniture – 233 calories

Mowing the lawn – 204 calories

Shovelling snow – 200 calories

Raking and bagging leaves – 155 calories

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Repairing your car – 117 calories

Carpentry – 117 calories

Cleaning – 97 calories

Pushing or pulling a pram with a child – 97 calories

Playing the piano – 81 calories

Cooking or food prep – 78 calories

READ MORE: Top fitness trends to break a sweat in 2023

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