Are you looking for ways to save time staying fit? My favorite fitness time-hack is to get something done around the house that is also physically difficult. It isn’t just a time-hack though, it’s a mind-hack as well.
Doing body weight exercises and working out with weights is fine, but what I really like, is getting outside and doing hard work. It builds functional fitness while I get something done around the house. Usually this is outdoor work because it’s hard to come up with something strenuous enough indoors to count as a workout.
I have an ongoing landscaping project that is, to be honest, a bit much. Like, taking years to accomplish so far because I’m doing it myself and it involves moving tens of thousands of pounds of dirt and rock. Some Saturdays I will get up early, go outside, and dig and move stone by hand for a few hours.
It feels wonderful.
Maybe I’m weird, but there is something satisfying about breaking my body down to create something physical. If I’m sweating at my day job, it’s usually because the HVAC is out of whack, not because I’m engineering up a storm.
Hard physical work is good for the soul and it’s good for the mind. Completing a physically difficult task builds confidence that you can complete other difficult tasks.
It also reduces tolerance for nonsense.
When it’s obvious that something physical can be built with focused hard work, it becomes maddening to watch time wasted through dithering (excuse my old-timey wording).
Working hard towards a visible goal is more satisfying than lifting weights. No matter how hard I exercise with weights, they ultimately end up back in the same place. If I build a rock wall, I get a workout, plus a rock wall as a physical manifestation of my effort.
Tips For Substituting Work For A Workout
Don’t lie to yourself when substituting work around the house for a workout. Get your heart rate up. You know if it’s really difficult enough.
Sometimes it makes sense to do things the hard way for part of a project to get the workout benefits. Hand carry materials instead of using the wheelbarrow for as many trips as you can stand and as time allows.
Many landscaping projects are easy to substitute for workouts:
-Clearing heavy brush
-Cutting down trees, cutting logs to length, chopping wood
-Building structures, as long as you hand carry enough materials to make it difficult
-Cutting grass on hillsides (no powered mower wheels)
-Rock & masonry work (my personal favorite)
Indoor projects are harder to incorporate into something that would count as a workout substitution. If you aren’t regularly working out though, many activities would count.
-Helping someone move (lift heavy enough stuff to make it count)
-Adding body weight exercises while cleaning. Do squats while putting away laundry. Do burpees and pushups while cleaner is soaking into grime. Run stairs in between tasks. Do squats while food is in the microwave or on the stove.
- This can save time if done correctly. If you’re working towards a specific fitness goal, a real targeted workout would be best and more time efficient. But, if you just have a lot to do around the house, getting in a workout at the same time makes sense.
- Exercise improves nearly every aspect of mental and physical health. It is the best medicine. Adding periodic exertion throughout the day keeps you young, body and mind.
- It eliminates an excuse not to exercise if that is a stumbling block. But, you need to be honest with yourself. Cleaning the bathroom is a useful task, but isn’t difficult enough to count as a workout.
Have you ever purposefully substituted physical work for a workout? Do you have more ideas for indoor activities that would count as a workout?