Everyday Exercise

Everyday Exercise

It’s hard for me to focus during certain situations, exercising being one of them. I need something to take my mind off the minutes on the elliptical or treadmill.  I’m at the stage in my routine that I don’t dread the gym, it’s part of my life and I enjoy it for what it’s helping me to accomplish.

This doesn’t mean it’s not any less boring.

When I’m exercising outside, I can easily be distracted by nature, my thoughts or talking with my husband. Sometimes the weather doesn’t always cooperate, which means I’m stuck inside.

A nurse practitioner at my new gynecologist’s office gave me a great idea of how to exercise that is weather proof and doesn’t require time at the gym.

She suggested a trip to a store where I could roam the aisles and get my steps in on my Fitbit.  I could also load up a cart with heavy objects, like cases of water and dog food (to add resistance), then push it around the store. When I was done, I unload the cart.

I decided to try this and add it to my workouts.  Plus, I figured it wouldn’t be boring and it could pass the time quickly (unless you hate stores, then this routine wouldn’t work for you). My husband suggested I do various places so store employees don’t think I’m strange.

My aim was to achieve 10,000 steps a day during this experiment. I still went to the gym or the park, but knowing that I would be “store walking” to assist me with getting more steps helped with my boredom issues at the gym. If I didn’t get many steps at the gym or park, I knew I would have to make them up at the store and vice versa.

Store 1:  the grocery store

I had just finished my workout at the gym when I arrived at the store.  I parked far away from the door to gain more steps. I walked around the store for about an hour and gained about 2,500 more steps. Added with what I did at the gym, I was up to 7,200 steps.

I arrived home to get ready for our date night. After a relaxing chat next to a lake, my husband and I arrived home and I did some laundry. Our washer and dryer are in the basement, so I was easily going to reach my step goal, especially since I walked the empty basket down the stairs instead of simply tossing it down the stairs.  ?

By 11:00 p.m., I had reached my 10,000-step goal.

Store 2:  Menards

I had a rebate that I needed to use and the store was huge, so I could easily get some laps. I loaded my cart with a bunch of laundry detergent and made my way around the store.  I was feeling good about my new exercise routine. It was busy (it was Saturday) so I left with about 2,000 steps and laundry soap (just 2 bottles though!)

On my way home, I stopped at a local park. It was a breezy spring day and I was instantly put into a good mood by the weather. Dealing with anxiety is bad, but for me personally, it’s worse in the winter. I love the outdoors; it puts me in a creative mood and helps my mind feel at ease. I came home from the park with a total of 8,400 steps and I it was only 3:30.

We went to a party later that evening. We parked as far away as we could and roamed the party center (which was on a lake) during our stay. By the time we left, I was at my goal of 10,000 steps and feeling proud of myself!

Store 3: Kohl’s

I wish…

I had some Kohls Cash and some coupons to use and I can easily spend an hour or more walking around this store, deciding what I should purchase. I found a cool coffee cup (which I didn’t buy because we already have too many) and a salad spinner (which I did buy). I racked up 2,700 steps here and earned some more Kohl’s cash!

After I left the store, I decided to head to the gym to get some more steps.  By the time I left, I had about 6,500 steps. I came home to mop the floor and clean the kitchen. My husband came home from work at 8:00 and we watched some T.V and chatted about our day.

I was at about 8,100 steps by 10:30. I was going to give up, but I decided I was so close to 10,000 that I needed to do what my husband refers to as “walking the house.” He even has a designated pathway around our house. I laugh at him often as he does this, but it is another effortless way to get some steps in. I didn’t follow the pathway he created; instead I used this time to straighten up the house. I put items back in their proper spots, including a few trips downstairs to put some items away in the basement.

I reached my goal and my house was nice and neat!

Store 4: Lowe’s

After working out at the gym, my husband and I headed to Lowe’s.  We are hoping to make a few changes to our kitchen soon, so we roamed the aisles of paint and refrigerators.  With our trip to the gym and Lowe’s, I was at 7,400 steps. When we arrived home, I decided to do a workout on YouTube.

My “action” shot
No clue what I was going for with this picture…

YouTube is an excellent source for free workouts. A friend introduced me to Cassey Ho workouts. Her channel, Blogilates, features tons of workouts for your calves, abs, arms and legs. She has cardio and Pilates videos, as well as workout calendars for each month. Cassey is energetic, positive and funny. She even has workouts for beginners. (I’m not getting paid to say any of this, just a fan of the workouts!)

YouTube also features tons of other workout videos, from Zumba to chair workouts. There’s a wide assortment of beginner’s videos all the way to advanced workouts. Just type in what you are looking for and I’m sure it will be there for you! The wonderful thing is that these workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home and for free.

I made it to my goal with the help of the YouTube videos, plus doing some loads of laundry. I used to fold the laundry in my room so I was closer to my dresser and closet. Now I fold it in the living room and must walk each pile of clothing or towels to its correct place.

Store 5: Target

I think I deserve extra points for walking into a Target store and not purchasing anything.I loaded up my cart with cases of water and dog food (which prevented me from adding anything else) and roamed the store. The heaviness of the cart was a fantastic way to add to my workout.

3 cases of bottled water + 60 pounds of dog food = strange looks from everyone

I had about 3,300 steps by the time I left. Due to the rain, I headed to the gym. I did the treadmill and some free weights. I wanted to leave the gym with at least 8,000 steps that day so I did a few minutes on the elliptical. I left with a total of 8,400 steps. When I arrived home, I vacuumed and Swiffered (that’s a word now, right?) the floors and ended my day with 11,000 steps.


I completed this experiment over the last few weeks. Here are some conclusions I reached.

  • With each store, I easily racked up between 2000-3000 steps and I wasn’t even thinking about it. I made sure I was constantly moving, even marching in place while I shopped.

  • I realized I could get in exercise just about anywhere and for free (if I didn’t buy anything at the store.) It didn’t have to be the same old thing every day.

  • When I walked around these stores, it motivated me to keep going, which I did at the gym, at home or at a park.

  • Setting goals for myself worked! When I was at the gym, I didn’t want to leave before reaching a certain number of steps so that I was closer to reaching my step goal for the day. I pushed myself to go longer and faster during my workouts.

  • Every step counts! I used to think that grocery shopping or walking around the house “didn’t count” as exercise, but it totally does since you are moving your body. Add stairs into the mix and you have a decent workout.

  • As I walked around my house, I could straighten up, which helped me feel better mentally when everything in my house was in its correct place.

  • On the days that I didn’t do store walking, I was motivated to be active in some way. I did have my rest days too, but instead of doing nothing, I focused on yoga or weight training and not on steps.

  • Walking out of Target with nothing is a big deal.


In the coming weeks, my new goal is to increase my daily step goal to 15,000. I’m going to add running into my routine. Plus, with the warmer weather coming up, I can easily add outdoor workouts to my day.

What are some ways you get in extra exercise in your everyday life?


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