Sometimes Monday
Unraveling . . . A Bathroom

Everything Counts

What do you think COUNTS . . . as exercise?

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  • Do you think you have to be doing something for a certain amount of time for it to "count" as exercise?
  • Do you think you have to be breathing hard and sweating and otherwise pushing yourself to the limit for it to "count" as exercise?
  • Do you think you have to be in a gym on miserable pieces of equipment for it to "count" as exercise?

Well.  If you do, you're not alone!  But I'm here to tell you that . . . what "counts" when it comes to exercise is different from what you think.  

In days gone by, there were some pretty specific recommendations for physical fitness and health that were, basically, large amounts of high intensity activity several times a week.  This was a very one-size-fits-all approach that didn't end up working for most people.  And many of us, even now, still carry this mental image of what counts as exercise in our heads.  Which is why we feel like we "fail" when we don't exercise like that.

But way back in 1996, the U.S. Surgeon General came out with a report on Physical Activity and Health that drastically changed the official notion of what "counted" as exercise.  The updated report gave us the go-ahead to:

  • Accumulate our physical activity throughout the day (it's not necessary to do all our exercise in one go)
  • Be less intense in our activity (we don't have to sweat or breathe heavily for exercise to be effective)
  • Count as exercise those activities we do naturally in daily life (walking, gardening, house cleaning, for example)

Somehow, though, we mostly choose to ignore that report, instead sticking with our old, outdated notions of what "counts."  And then . . . we continue to feel like we're "failing."

Let's work at breaking down one fitness barrier this week:  Let's reconfigure our notion of what "counts" as exercise!  (Trust me.  After working on removing the wallpaper from my guest bathroom this weekend, I can tell you it definitely "counts.")  It's a start.  Because if we can break down this mental barrier to fitness, we can move forward together from there.

So.  What do you say?
What do YOU do - on the regular - that you didn't think was exercise. . . but might actually be exercise?



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That approach always makes me think of my grandmother. She had a great garden, loved to can and prepare the produce, and cooked “from scratch”. She was a great seamstress and a wizard in taking an adult garment and remaking a garment for a child. She believed in working hard and enjoying a respite during the worst heat of the day. She got plenty of exercise!


Grandkids. They are definitely exercise... lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, up down up down up down!! Haha.


Gardening...bend, stretch, (and with care) lift. My legs definitely get a workout.


So many things - but I've always considered them exercise. My washer and dryer are in the carrying a load of laundry down...coming back up. Then down again to dry...or bring the wet clothes upstairs and then hang them outside (lots of stretching then:)) Grocery shopping - pushing the cart loaded, then out to the car, loading into the car...then out and into the house. I do wonder why my arms are not more developed - lol.


Moving my body: up/down stairs; household chores; pushing a grocery cart up/down aisles; walking, walking, AppleWatch keeps me informed when I’m too sedentary- oops, there it goes: time for me to take a walk in the corridor as we wait for Norman’s medical appt...
Cheers ~
PS Enjoying this mini series mucho. Merci


I'll bet your shoulders and traps got a great workout, Kym!
I'll hop on the gardening train and say yes, for sure, gardening. Weeding with just the right 'from' can certainly stand in for dead lifts!
And my husband just gave me a fun new cruiser bike for my birthday. While it obviously doesn't qualify as hard-core cycling--no spandex shorts here. ever.--it certainly moves my body more to run local errands on my cruiser than it does in my car! So I 'count' that... In fact, I'm riding to the library to pick up my holds this afternoon!

Carolyn S Thomas

FORM!!! :)


Stairs! I go up and down them more times than I can count during the coarse of a day. Although I don’t think of this as exercise it really is. Because we live at least 30 minutes from major shopping areas I line up a day of errands requiring me to either walk from store to store or drive to malls where I walk. Definitely exercise! Of course Gardening which I’m itching to do more of if the rain stops!


Well, this is quite a freeing concept! I'm sweating from spending much of the afternoon in the garden - planting sunflowers, watering, hammering in stakes with a 12 lb. sledgehammer, shoveling dirt to fill in a groundhog hole, also hanging laundry outside, and now walking to the library to return some books. I guess maybe I get more exercise than I thought. Thanks!


I love this concept and I think it's definitely a game changer for me. Now that it's not so cold out I'm parking further from the door when I go places and I try to go up and down the stairs at work at least a few times every day.

kim in oregon

I try to do lots of stairs at work, and also stand up for at least half of the workdya.

Julia in KW

I completely agree that different daily activities count toward exercise to keep us fit...however, my Apple watch counts my knitting as steps (though not as exercise ;) )


This is such a great idea - and it is amazing how many things that fit in the exercise category! Housecleaning for the win! lol

kathy b

Anytime I go to the barn and work with horses, I am working out! Its all fun and I don't even notice. Usually I hate to work out. Fireman LOVES it.


I seem to get a pretty good amount of physical activity from simultaneously making dinner and packing lunches every evening. I'm moving around the kitchen a lot -- cutting, peeling, stirring, etc.!


Yes, Housecleaning! Also, I make a point of using stairs as often as I can, even here at home. All those steps add up!


Living in a townhouse has about killed my knees, but I get a workout going up and down them about 30 times a day. Vacuuming can really give a girl a workout, too. I love my iWatch as it tracks my movement, lets me know how much I'm moving, if I need to move more and just how many steps I am taking in a day. If I get in around 10,000 a day I'm happy. Thanks for letting us know so much of what we do counts. That feels good!


I wish I had more stairs, but walking back and forth to mailbox and garden and shed and bedrooms seems to count. But then, I wish I stretched more so I try to figure in moments, just a few minutes or I tell myself “you only have to do 4 different body stretches 1 minute for three times a day” and then try to remember to do so. So, I give myself notes or hints like “every time you see the front door, do a stretch” .
Ha, hardly/vaguely works - but I tell myself, at least I really want to do more and give myself a point on the never-ending list of high-in-the-sky-merits I give myself to get to heaven. . . the heaven of a hopeful moveable body.

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