4 Ways You Can Exercise by Accident

Do you dread exercise? When I started exercising, it took a long time for me to really get used to the idea of exerting myself and only seeing the benefits of exercise later on. We all know how hard it is to exercise after a long day at work, making dinner, and then forcing yourself to go to the gym. It definitely takes a lot of perseverance! Now, we definitely believe that there are lots of benefits of exercise, but what should you do on those days that you just can’t seem to drag yourself to the gym? On those days, I try to exercise…accidentally.

Here are the four ways you are exercising “by accident” every single day. We call these your “easy exercise tips.” We hope it makes you feel just a bit better on those days you don’t go to the gym—because, after all, you can exercise by going about your daily activities, too.

1. Cleaning your house

More than 40% of women make as much money as their husbands, but they still spend twice as much time doing unpaid labor around the home than their male counterparts. While the division of labor around the home needs to change, here’s the bright side: all those hours cleaning up around the home add up. One hour of cleaning your house burns approximately 255 calories—equivalent to 35 minutes on a stationary bike.

2. Taking the stairs

If you take the stairs at work, or walk up and down the stairs at home a few times a week, that adds up, too. This is definitely one easy exercise tip you should try to do every day. Walking up and down stairs for three minutes burns about 33 calories. Do that four times a day, and you’ll burn around 130 calories—equivalent to running on the treadmill at mid–high speed for 15 minutes.

3. Going dancing

We all need downtime, and what better way to relax than going dancing with friends? This is another way to reap the benefits of exercise (or “accidental exercise”). Going dancing for two hours burns approximately 800 calories—equivalent to more than an hour on the treadmill!

4. Walking your dog

When your dog nags you to take him for a walk, embrace it. After all, this is another way to reap the benefits of exercise, because walking your dog for just 20 minutes burns about 115 calories. Sounds like a great way to burn calories without strenuous effort!

What’s your “accidental exercise” secret?


Anderssen, E., “Dirty work: how household chores push families to the brink,” The Globe and Mail web site, June 1, 2013; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/dirty-work-how-household-chores-push-families-to-the-brink/article12300024/, last accessed June 6, 2013.

Steringa, E., “The do diet,” Chatelaine web site, April 9, 2010; http://www.chatelaine.com/health/the-do-diet/, last accessed June 6, 2013.