Fitness Articles

The ''Real'' Woman's Workout

Find Ways to be Inefficient

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Recently, while bringing the wood in for our woodstove, a friend of ours said, "With all those boys, you’re bringing in the wood?" By "all those boys," he was referring to our four sons. I quickly explained to him that while we do have the boys help out with the wood, I often volunteer to do it myself, because it gives me some exercise on the days I don’t otherwise work out. In fact, I purposely only carry in two pieces of wood at a time, so that I have to make extra trips in and out, increasing its cardio effect. "Consider it the Country-Girl’s Workout!" I quipped. Well, we both got a good chuckle out of that, but it brought up a very valid point: you can find fitness in many aspects of your own life that you may not normally consider. Here’s another example:

At one of my sons’ soccer tournaments, we had to park quite a ways from the field, because the parking lots were filled up (not to mention they were playing at the field furthest from where we were parked!). My reaction? "Cool! Time to get a little cardio action in!" I offered to carry the chairs and backpack, knowing it would just give me that much more of a workout. But the reaction of those around me wasn’t quite so positive. "I can’t believe we have to walk so far just to get to the field!" and "We should have just driven around – there must have been some empty spots somewhere that would have been closer."

My kids can give many examples of times we walk when it’s not really necessary, usually when running errands and shopping. You see, when you change your mind about physical activity, you will inevitably change your body. Studies show that just by adding moderate activity to your daily repertoire, you will positively change your health status. This moderate activity includes doing things such as parking further from your destination and hoofing it, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, raking your lawn, hoeing your garden, doing your housework with vigor. Yes, I said vigor! What? Haven’t you ever done the polka with your vacuum? Continued ›

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About The Author

Carrie Myers Smith Carrie Myers Smith
Carrie Carrie is an ACSM-certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health education. Her work has appeared in Shape, Fitness, Cooking Light and Energy for Women.

Member Comments

  • Thanks! these are all great ideas! Never thought of the groceries being carried in as extra fitness training, but I like it! Progress is anywhere we choose to make it. - 7/23/2015 9:19:39 AM
  • This is great, and the way that I get lots of "extra" fitness worked into my day. I'm thankful that we live in a two-story house, with a basement as well - I get lots of stairclimbing in each day, plus I do lots of yard work and gardening, plus feeding animals - and yes, I sometimes do some vigourous housecleaning (but not as much as I should during the summer... (sigh) - 7/17/2014 12:54:36 AM
  • I do the shipping and receiving at work and some delivery guys ask if I have someone to help me take boxes upstairs. I had to start lying so they wouldn't take them up for me! It used to bug me, but I guess they see a tiny 5'2" girl and find it un-girly-like to lift 'heavy' boxes. Or they're just being macho! - 11/17/2013 4:37:31 PM
  • My students always give me the side-eye when I volunteer to do any task that involves extra walking or lifting but I love it! Definitely a great way to get extra fitness in :) - 11/17/2013 10:30:21 AM
  • When taking a Client some place, I LOVE ignoring the "Handicapped" Parking -- Even though I have a Disabled Placard for the Car -- Parking far from the building, unloading a Wheel Chair, and wheeling them across the Parking Lot. I get the Extra Steps, and the Client gets Extra Vitmin D and Fresh Air. - 2/15/2013 10:44:46 AM
    loved it! - 1/7/2013 7:10:09 PM
  • when putting laundry away do it step by step not be too efficient - 10/27/2012 11:00:49 AM
    Oh, yes! Us silver foxes have been doing this for years - we have more stamina.
    We don't need to "build" our muscles, we have adaptede to our changing bodies.
    And resent the #@ii out of the portrayed nubile young women who 'have to get fit' in their twenties.
    We're all in this for the duration - and not the run - we all want to feel good about ourselves so we can continue. - 6/8/2012 5:06:24 PM
    I do these kinds of things too - park further away, make more trips back and forth etc. I'm not so keen on the housework though :-) - 5/20/2012 10:39:10 AM
    I'm going to start bringing in groceries one bag at a time...good idea - 4/26/2012 11:47:08 AM
  • Great article! I live by this moto! I even walk with determination when it is just from one end of the house to the other. I park at the back of the parking lots too. - 12/12/2011 10:42:02 AM
    I have a "handicap parking" card I use most of the time whether or not my physical problems are acting up or not. After reading this article, I'll not use it if all my parts are working well.
    However, in the meantime, I'm going to ask for PAPER bags in the grocery store instead of plastic because I can only carry ONE paper bag at a time. Not only will this force me to make MORE TRIPS from the car to the house with groceries, it will be better for the environment. I have my own "eco friendly" (cloth) grocery bags that I can bring for packing my groceries, but I can stuff a lot into those. You can't over-stuff paper bags or they RIP!! Baby steps.... - 7/11/2011 1:32:41 PM
  • I love the part about "purposely being inefficient". Like you said, in our society, we are constantly trying to do 2, 3, 4 things at the same time to make the best use of our time. While there are certainly times when we need to be efficient, it's nice to slow down sometimes and take a little extra time -- like parking farther away or carrying the groceries in one bag at a time. Many times, these little bits of inefficiencies only take an extra 3-5 minutes. Great article! - 7/11/2011 10:27:44 AM
  • Great article! My only comment is, these things work best when you're dressed for them. Hiking to the farthest playing field is easy if you're wearing sneakers, but not if your shoes are already pinching your toes. :) - 7/9/2011 12:41:04 PM
  • Oops!
    I was just thinking that I have been doing more walking than I was doing previously. A few months ago I couldn't even walk from my desk to the bathroom at work without getting winded. The other day I went to a dept store and walked around for an hour! For me it was triumphant. I hadn't set foot in a dept store or mall for over 5 years because I couldn't walk. Thank you for justifying my additional activity. - 7/9/2011 8:20:25 AM

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