We have so many labor-saving devices these days, it’s no wonder we’re all getting pudgy. But, if we could look at everyday activities as exercises that can help us to reach our fitness goals and avoid paying gym fees, we might embrace them as something more positive than we have in the past.

The number of calories you burn during an activity depends on a number of factors, including your body size and composition, your gender and your age. It will also depend of the length of time you spend doing the activity but there’s no question that you can get your exercise without going to the gym.

Hooray for Chore Day!

Consider any type of yard or housework as exercise because it is. Rake those leaves! Vacuum those carpets! Feel the burn!According to a calculator on fitwatch.com, a 165-lb. person, vacuuming for 30 minutes, will burn 138 calories and according to the website livestrong.com, if you weigh 150-lbs, raking leaves for 30 minutes will work off 146.3 calories.

A 140-lb. person can burn 151 calories while cutting the grass by pushing a power lawn mower for 30 minutes or 185 calories by using a push mower for the same length of time.

Get On The Ball

At the office, try switching out your office chair for an exercise ball for part of the day. Because there are no armrests or a back, sitting on a ball with force you to sit up straight.  It will strengthen your legs, abs and back muscles and, to some degree your core muscles. If you try this, make sure the exercise ball you use is big enough to allow your legs to angle slightly downward and not quite at a right angle from your thighs.

Sit Down, Stand Up, Repeat

Consider how many times every day that you bend over to pick something up off the floor or the coffee table. Instead of bending from the waist, make these moments opportunities to do squats. Exercise moves don’t have to be done all at once to be effective, so every time you need to freshen the pets water dish, pick up toys or retrieve a dropped utensil, do a squat instead of bending from the waist. You may be surprised at how many you can get in in a day, just by doing one squat at a time.

Look for opportunities to get in several squats at once. For example, I leave the laundry basket on the floor and do a squat to retrieve each item to fold. After I have a pile of clothes to put away, I squat to open the low drawer they belong in.

The benefits of doing squats are many. Using your legs to lower and raise your body toughens the knees and ankles, along with their supporting ligaments and tendons, helps you maintain your posture and balance later in life and strengthens your abdominal core. All of this helps to prevent injury and maintain mobility as you age.

Grocery shopping, washing the car, playing with the kids, preparing for and cleaning up after a party; all of it is exercise. Becoming mindful of these opportunities to burn calories makes the idea of chores a lot less painful and can save you the cost of a gym membership, too.