Is Shopping Exercise? It Can Be!

By Angela Tague in Healthy Feeling

Ask anyone who uses a fitness tracker if hours of wandering mall hallways or meandering up and down grocery store aisles counts as exercise, and they’ll happily show you their step counter. Is shopping exercise? Oh, yes! If you strip away the shopping context, you’re walking, climbing steps, bending, twisting, and moving your arms. Without the gym, that would be considered exercise on the go. So, I was thinking, what can I do when I’m running errands to amp up my calorie burn?

There’s no reason you can’t combine your errands with your workout on a busy day. Slip into some sneakers, and try these moves next time you’re on the hunt for that perfect birthday gift or new outfit!

1. Take the Long Route

Enter the shopping center at the entrance furthest from your shopping destination. The planned hike allows for ample window shopping and extra minutes of brisk-paced walking to get your heart rate up. When you’re leaving a store, do the same: take the long way to your next stop.

2. Dressing Room Stretch

In the privacy of a large dressing room, give your muscles some attention. Bend forward a few times to touch your toes and stretch the backs of your legs. Reach up and recline into a slight back bend to give your lower back some love, then sneak in a few shoulder rolls to release tension.

3. Skip the Assistance

Whenever I buy the super-size bag of dog kibble at the pet store, I’m offered assistance to carry and load it in my car. Lately, I’ve been declining this service, so I can push my muscles a bit by lifting a heavy item for a short period of time. Try this technique with larger items, like bags of bird seed or cat litter.

4. Ditch the Shopping Cart

If you’re picking up a few items at the grocery store, opt for hand baskets instead. Use two, and balance the weight of your groceries on either side so you can engage your arm muscles and do a few basket lifts as you make your way around the store. Make sure you’re keeping control of the baskets, and your biceps will be stronger in no time.

5. Walk, Don’t Ride

If you live in a community where pedestrian traffic is the norm, skip sitting idle on public transportation or driving yourself. Run a few close errands by foot. (You can use a backpack if you have several items to bring back.) Avoid escalators and elevators—taking the stairs is almost always faster, not to mention energy-efficient. Plus, when you’re using the stairs at the mall, you tend not to notice just how many flights you’re climbing, since they’re spread out.

6. Strike a Pose

I love yoga, so I try to incorporate poses into my everyday life as much as possible. More than once I’ve lingered while selecting items off a bottom shelf, knees straight, so I can sneak in a forward fold. Waiting in line, you might see one leg bent as I practice a balancing tree pose.

With a few modifications, you can burn extra calories and stretch your muscles as you shop to avoid that completely spent, knocked-down, shop-til’-you-drop feeling after a day of running errands.

Do you exercise on the go? Is shopping exercise, in your opinion? Chat with us on Twitter!

Image source: Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

We're all guilty of sitting too much, so why not offset those sedentary moments with a little gusto? Any movement you can add to your day (even while shopping) is a good thing. Next time you run to the store, do an extra lap around the aisles and carry those bags yourself.