Are you wondering which everyday activities should NOT be counted as exercise for health and fitness?

It’s time you know just what these various activities are.

“Physical activity” doesn’t necessarily yield the same benefits of a structured, regimented exercise program.

No sensible person would disagree that exercise is important for health and fitness.

The problem is when people think they get adequate exercise, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

A busy schedule or “hectic day” do not mean you got sufficient cardio and weight-bearing exercise for that day.

A brain that’s working much of the time doesn’t mean the body is getting enough exercise.

The following everyday activities do not count as exercise, and do not produce the many benefits of a regular, structured, regimented exercise program:

1. Getting in and out of the car “a dozen times a day” due to many errands and shopping trips.

2. Slowly drudging up and down the staircase throughout the day, especially if holding to the railing.

3. Doing a lot of shopping, pushing around the grocery cart while searching the aisles for products, removing groceries from the car, bringing them into the house, unloading the bags and putting the items away.

  • How long does this take?
  • How often do you do it?
  • Is your posture good while you do it?

4. The walking done in parking lots at the store, bank, post office, etc. This isn’t to say that walking doesn’t count as exercise.

Of course it does, when it’s done briskly or uphill for sustained periods on a regular basis.

This hardly describes the 30-second slow walking stints that shoppers typically do on level parking lots.

5. Cooking, making bread, watering the plants, feeding the dog, changing the bed sheets, vacuuming, doing laundry, sewing, changing diapers, dressing children, etc.

What’s an effective exercise regimen?

An effective exercise regimen includes both cardio and strength training, along with stretching — all done while maintaining neutral spinal alignment — something that’s absent when doing housework and even gardening.

Housework and gardening can strain the back and cause pain and injury.

Exercise should be deliberate and sustained for at least 20 minutes, though highly intense bouts of exertion can produce fitness and health benefits when sustained for only a few minutes or less.

But the shorter the duration, the more intense the exercise should be, such as five, 20-second hard sprints alternating with three minutes of walking.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.