10 Surprising Ways You’re Working Out Every Day

1. Mowing the Lawn
It’s no surprise pushing a heavy mower around the yard is a real workout. And if you have slopes or hills in your yard, you’ll really feel the burn.

Plus, you’ll get some fresh air and Vitamin D while you’re at it — just make sure to wear your sunscreen.

Calories burned: 269

2. Snow Shoveling
Snow shoveling in the wee hours of the morning is the last thing you probably want to do after the alarm clock goes off, but to get out of the driveway, you have to do it.

“For those of us that live in winter climates, snow shoveling burns lots of calories,” says Kevil. You’ll be happy to know you can consider it your morning workout. All that lifting will tone up your arms, too.

It’s important to shovel safely, though. Try to avoid extra bending and twisting at the waist, be sure to lift with your legs and be careful that you’re not lifting more than you can handle — wet snow can be heavy. And take a break if you’re feeling dizzy or have trouble breathing.

Calories burned: 304

Related: 9 Unexpected Ways Winter Could Be Hurting Your Health

3. Mopping and Sweeping
Like snow shoveling, the constant back and forth motion of mopping and sweeping can help you burn some major calories. Not to mention, your house is going to be spick and span afterwards!

Try turning on some of your favorite tunes and dancing to the beat — the amount of calories you will burn will soar.

Calories burned: 170

4. Gardening and Yard Work
If you have a green thumb, you’re in luck. “Gardening, being outside, carrying leaves, raking, pulling weeds, shoveling, digging, or carrying mulch will all help you burn calories,” says Kevil.

Try pulling weeds as fast as you can for a few minutes; instead of moseying while you’re carrying the leaves, walk at a brisker pace, says Kevil. “Raking at a faster rate will definitely get your heart rate up and give you a better workout,” says Kevil.

Calories burned: 196

Related: 6 Exercise Moves You Need to Steal From Popular Workouts

5. Grocery Shopping
Whether you love it or hate it, grocery shopping is inevitable. Keep things interesting by making it a workout and pushing your cart more briskly. “Walking quickly through the store will increase your heart rate as well as your metabolism.”

You can also try parking the car further away from the grocery store, so you have to walk a further distance when pushing your cart, says Kevil. Make extra trips around the aisles and bag your own groceries, too.

Calories burned: 190
6. Washing Dishes
Even though washing dishes may seem like a drag, you may be burning calories while your elbows are deep in suds. “Clearing the table, washing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, and scrubbing the dishes all use muscles, and helps burn calories,” says Kevil.

Try washing the dishes while standing on one leg or while doing barre-inspired leg lifts. Doing so will burn more calories and improve your balance.

Calories burned: 88 if washing dishes and standing, 102 if washing and clearing dishes from table

7. Cooking
Who knew chopping veggies, boiling pasta and making trips back and forth to the fridge could burn calories? All that hard work pays off for your tummy (delicious meals!) and for your waistline.

Calories burned: 98

8. Fidgeting
Even though constantly tapping your leg or foot is probably a nuisance to your cubicle neighbor, doing so can burn calories.

“Tapping your foot or fingers, shifting around or twisting, twiddling your thumbs, or tightening your muscles helps you burn calories,” says Kevil.

Pump your ankles up and down while you’re waiting for an appointment or sit at your desk and squeeze your shoulder blades together holding for 10 seconds, recommends Kevil.

Calories: Up to 350 a day

9. Laundry
“Doing laundry can potentially burn quite a few calories, especially if you’re carrying baskets up and down stairs, putting clothes away, and climbing a flight or two of stairs or walking a lot between rooms,” says Kevil.

Make laundry more enjoyable (and burn more calories) by turning up your favorite tunes and dance through the house while you’re working.

Another bonus? “Every time you squat down and come up to pick up the laundry, you’re working your thigh and hip muscles, adding lean muscles mass that will help you burn more calories,” says Kevil.

Calories burned: 68 if folding or putting clothes in dryer and washer, 88 if putting clothes away and walking around

10. Sleeping
How is sleeping working out? Stick with us for a second. If you’re not getting enough sleep (and most people don’t), you’re burning fewer calories a few different ways.

A lack of sleep messes with your hormones. One shift causes you to lose muscle, and another makes you store more fat — a bad combo because muscle burns more calories than fat. Your hunger hormone, ghrelin, increases while the one that puts the brakes on your appetite, leptin, goes down. And, if you’re sluggish, you’re more likely to be less active.

Sleep soundly by sticking to a regular sleep and wake schedule, powering down electronics one hour before bed and setting your bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.

Healthy Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss

One of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss is that you have to cut out carbs – it’s just not true! Many studies have shown that you can lose weight on a high-carb diet. For one, it makes a diet a lot easier to stick to. Secondly, you need the carbohydrates to store energy so you can have effective workouts in the gym and burn fat. Carbs take a lot longer to break down than any other food group, so they keep you full and prevent blood sugar spikes. We spoke to registered dietitians Jessica Levinson and Julie Upton to find out more about which carbs to choose and how to enjoy them.


You can slim down in one day or one week, but in order to truly adopt a sustainable lifestyle and see long-term changes, give yourself time to adapt to your new routine and stay at a healthy weight range. Registered dietitian Nazirber De La Cruz, RDN, CDN, who specializes in weight management, shared her top recommendations for anyone looking to lose weight over the course of thirty days.

Set Yourself Up for Success
To lose weight, you need to make a plan. Once you’ve committed to dropping the pounds, stock up on healthy produce and create a realistic workout routine. If you’re unable to cook or won’t have time to on certain days, review your options from local food vendors and restaurants near your home or workplace to determine which meals match up with your health and weight-loss goals.

On average, you can expect to lose up to 1-2 pounds a week or 4-8 pounds per month if you adhere to a balanced meal and exercise plan. Weight loss can fluctuate and vary depending on the time of day, your metabolism, and the extent of your lifestyle changes. If you want to start an elimination diet or want to lose more than ten pounds in a month, consider speaking with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a licensed nutritionist, who can help design a program that best suits your needs or guide you through intensive behavioral therapy so you can make healthy and lasting changes.

Eat the Right Foods
De La Cruz recommends seeking out high-quality and minimally-processed foods. She emphasizes eating a diverse diet full of vegetables, protein, and starch. Choose colorful and phytonutrient-rich vegetables, which fight inflammation in the body, one of the most common issues in individuals carrying extra weight. In addition to choosing nutrient-rich foods, make sure to cut back and limit any unhealthy culprits. This often means extras such as artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, alcohol or soft drinks. Finally, remember to stay hydrated throughout the day. De La Cruz suggests drinking “at least two liters per day, especially during the summer months.”

Prep and Log Meals
The more you plan, the more likely you’ll stick to your healthy eating routine. Save time and prepare foods that can be stored in advance, portion out servings, and look up the ingredients you may need for future meals. Make food logging as easy and accessible as possible by setting reminders for the same time each day or using the default Notes app in your smartphone or a specific app designed for journaling or meal planning. You’ll be able to notice any patterns more easily and make adjustments to your diet if necessary.

More: Quiz: Are You Eating as Healthy as You Think You Are?

Get Sweaty
Watching what you eat is only one factor in the weight-loss equation. “Step one of my metabolism-boosting tips is incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine,” says De La Cruz. With HIIT, the impact of your workouts is more important than the frequency. A good rule of thumb is to follow the American Heart Association’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 5 days per week. Overall, aim for at least 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of physical activity each week.


Rest and Recover
Scientific studies have correlated sleep with weight loss and the amount and quality of sleep you get can negatively impact how ghrelin, the hormone that controls appetite, is regulated in the body. De La Cruz advises at least seven hours of sleep every night to keep hunger in check.