woman pushes lawn mower _ non-exercise exercises
Healthy Living

“Non-Exercise” Exercises To Stay in Shape

Jun 18 2018

No time to hit the gym? Work your muscles with these exercises

Getting fit doesn’t always mean spending hours at the gym and overhauling your diet. You can also make gradual changes in your everyday life to lose weight and stay in shape. These health habits can even involve the activities that you do on a daily or weekly basis. They’re called NEAT exercises, and these simple activities to burn calories can take the guesswork out of working out.

What are NEAT exercises?

“NEAT” stands for “non-exercise activity thermogenesis.” This is the energy that your body uses any time you’re not eating, sleeping, playing sports or working out. Every movement you make uses energy, and NEAT calorie burning happens all throughout the day. You can increase the amount of energy your body uses — and lose weight — by getting more active with these NEAT exercises.

Playing tag with your kid

Spend more quality time with your child and get some invigorating NEAT exercise in the process. Running around and chasing your little one during a game of tag gets your heart rate up. This type of aerobic exercise works out your heart and lungs — along with your whole body — to help them function better. It can also lower your blood pressure while helping your immune system keep you from getting sick. An hour of easy games of tag can help a 160-pound adult burn almost 300 calories.


If you love spending time outdoors, get in plenty of non-exercise activity while gardening. Digging in the dirt, planting flowers, raking up leaves — all of these activities can work out your arms and legs while you beautify your yard. A 160-pound adult burns about 350 calories an hour doing yardwork. Be sure to apply sunscreen, no matter how long you plan to be outside.

Mowing your lawn

Cutting the grass involves quite a bit of walking and using your upper body. Like playing tag, this activity provides aerobic exercise that works your heart and lungs. It also engages your entire body as you walk across the yard. To create more resistance and burn more calories as you push, use a manual mower instead of a gas-powered model. During an hour of mowing the lawn, a 160-pound adult burns about 220 calories.

Washing your car

Skip the car wash and clean your vehicle at home to get in a good workout. Stretching to scrub and polish the car is ideal for toning up your arms and core. And, you’ll engage your whole body because you’re on your feet moving around the driveway. Squatting down to clean the rims and tires can help work out your legs, too. For a 160-pound adult, one hour of washing and waxing can burn around 300 calories.

Pushing a stroller

Like mowing the lawn, pushing a stroller is an aerobic exercise that works your legs and upper body. That’s because you’re walking up and down hills while moving the stroller forward with your arms. You also get to decide how fast you walk. You can burn more calories at a quicker pace. It’s even a great way to get some fresh air and let your child see new sights. Pushing a stroller for an hour helps a 160-pound adult burn about 180 calories.

Moving more is a great way to reach your fitness goals. Want to learn other new ways to build healthy habits for life? Visit Mercy.com today to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist. We’ll work with you to develop personalized wellness goals — and show you all the healthy ways you can reach them.

Interested in more stories like this? Our Summer Survival Guide is full of healthy living tips to start your summer right. Learn more here.

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