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There are an overwhelming number of choices when it comes to working out, from low-intensity options, like yoga or pilates, to more intense alternatives, like running or an Orangetheory class. But no matter what you choose, it takes time to work out—and if you already don’t enjoy exercise, keeping it up is that much more challenging. Does that sound like you? If so, rest assured that experts say there are plenty of calorie-burning activities you can do that don’t feel like exercise at all.

“Being active doesn’t always have to occur on a machine, in a gym, or even be something you intentionally plan and structure,” Rachel MacPherson, Certified Strength and Conditional Specialist (CSCS), CPT, and author at Garage Gym Reviews, says. “Especially if you are trying to move your body more or are just getting into being more active, adding natural, productive activity into your day makes a massive difference to your health and well-being.”

MacPherson, who is also a women’s health coach and pain-free performance specialist, notes that improving your health includes increasing your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)—and to do so, you don’t have to join ClassPass or whip out those old workout DVDs.

“Luckily, several ways to increase your TDEE do not entail a structured workout routine,” she says.

If you’re looking for different options for exercise, read on for 11 activities you can do—or may already be doing—to up your daily calorie burn.

1. Gardening

Believe it or not, one of your favorite hobbies can actually help you achieve your fitness goals. 

Gardening is not only a way to stay active, it’s also a gratifying hobby that is therapeutic and de-stressing,” MacPherson says. “Depending on the gardening you do, you can get a fantastic workout while improving the appearance of your yard and enjoying a fruitful pastime.”

MacPherson notes squatting, lifting, carrying, and working with your arms are all involved with gardening—and can build muscular endurance while upping your heart rate.

2. Cleaning the House

Housekeeping is a part of daily life—whether you like it or not. But did you know that it can also burn some extra calories?

“Cleaning your home is one of the most productive ways to get active,” MacPherson says. “Finding time for chores is challenging, especially if you work full-time or have kids. Tasks such as sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, clearing clutter, organizing, washing windows, and scrubbing surfaces are all ways you can be active while accomplishing your to-do list.”

Like gardening, this is going to get your heart rate up, meaning you can count it as cardio to increase your TDEE.

“Many of the movements you perform while cleaning build functional strength and stability,” MacPherson adds. “You work in all planes of motion, bracing your core to twist, turn, lift, and squat.”

5. Playing with your kids or grandkids

If you have kids or grandkids, you know that they typically have a lot of energy to expend every day. So, if you treat quality time with them as your workout, you’ll be doing yourself and the kiddos a favor.

“Fitting in family time is another one of those seemingly impossible tasks on busy days, but it’s so rewarding and fulfilling,” MacPherson says. “Plus, play is crucial for mental health and increases bonding while easing stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms.”

She suggests running around in a local park, playing a game of tag, or challenging the kids to a race “for some excellent cardio.”

“If you want more structured fitness during this time, you can do sprints, perform pull-ups from monkey bars, or create an obstacle course with exercises at each station,” MacPherson says.

7. Power Washing

Another “workout” you can get without leaving the home is power washing: Not only will your home look and feel better, but you will, too!

According to Josh York, CPT, founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, pressure washing “works your core, triceps, and shoulders.”

Don’t have a power washer or plans to invest in one any time soon? Painting with a roller can have similar effects, York says, working both your shoulders and triceps.

8. Dancing

One of the most fun ways to “work out” without feeling like you’re doing so is by turning on your favorite music and dancing.

“Dancing is a fun, social activity that improves balance and coordination (motor control), two aspects of fitness that are crucial for aging adults,” MacPherson says. “Falls are among the most common yet devastating risks that grow as you age and are the biggest culprit of fractures that lead to loss of independence and declining health.”

Rachel Lovitt, CPT and holistic movement coach, notes that dance fitness classes are also great ways to get moving—and even though you’re going to a class, it’s not going to feel like work if you enjoy it.

“Dance is great for cardio, coordination, and balance. Focusing on the movements/choreography allows you to forget that you’re exercising, especially if you love music!” Lovitt says. “Zumba is a very popular dance fitness class that gets your heart rate up and gets your hips moving! Adult dance classes are becoming more and more popular so if you’ve ever wanted to try ballet or hip hop or tap dance, there’s never been a better time.”

Lovitt also suggests ballroom dance “if you’d be more comfortable in a 1:1 setting,” but notes it “would not be the most accessible choice financially.”

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