Do you find that after carrying groceries into your home, your heart is racing and you’re out of breath?
Perhaps you lifted the groceries out of your car trunk, or maybe they were more easily retrieved from the front seat of your car.
And then you carried them to your front door – not even a staircase to climb – then carried them to your kitchen.
And once you set down the bags, you’re catching your breath and feel your heart racing.
Perhaps you’re not even 30 yet.
If your heart races and you get “out of breath” simply from carrying groceries, there’s no doubt that you experience these same symptoms while conducting the following activities:
• Rushing through the house to tend to a situation such as your two young kids fighting.
• Hurrying through the house to answer your phone.
• Running across a parking lot in the rain.
• Carrying loads of laundry or a vacuum cleaner up a flight of stairs.
• Walking your dog up a street hill.
What’s going on here?
Ask yourself these questions:
“Do I smoke?”
“If not, how much structured aerobic exercise do I get?”
“If I exercise, is it in an efficient way? If I think so, how do I know for sure?”
“Do I do any strength training?”
“If so, is it in an efficient way? Ditto.”
Most likely, especially if you’re younger, the reason you pant and get a racing heart from picking up and carrying groceries into your home is because you’re out of shape.
Your body isn’t used to physical exertion, even if all along, you’ve believed you’re getting adequate exercise.
What You Think Is Adequate Exercise that Really Isn’t
Housework. If this WAS sufficient exercise, why does your heart beat fast and you get winded carrying around the groceries?
Walking on the job. Ditto.
Holding onto a treadmill and convincing yourself this is actual exercise.
Get Into Shape
If you smoke, quit.
If you’re overweight, stop making excuses (e.g., “My Instagram idol says I’m perfect just the way I am.”) and commit to safely losing your excess body fat.
Think of excess fat as a weighted body suit that you wear every day. Of COURSE it’ll be more difficult doing daily tasks.
Do structured cardio workouts such as mixing brief periods of fast jogging with recovery walking (interval training).
Another useful form of aerobics is a group fitness class.
Do strength training. If you can’t join a gym, purchase a basic weight training set (e.g., several pairs of dumbbells and some resistance bands).
If you have a staircase, use it for exercise. Walk up and down for 10 minutes nonstop. Carry light weights as you get fitter with the climbing. Do stepping drills on the bottom step.
And…every time you use it for transport, don’t move sluggishly. Instead, march up the steps and swing your arms.
Don’t let any Instagram maven trick you into believing that working up a sweat and getting out of breath from exercise is a sign of negative body image or obsession.
Don’t let any Instagram influencer convince you into thinking that you shouldn’t schedule workouts.
Whom should you listen to?
Listen to your BODY. You should NOT be panting and having a racing heart simply from carrying groceries or doing other routine tasks.
If structured cardio and strength training (plus weight loss and quitting smoking if those apply) do not solve this problem, you should get a full workup from your physician.
After all, structured exercise should make it a breeze to conduct the activities of daily living.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.