Don’t Underestimate the Value of an Alternative Workout!

Today the stars aligned. My schedule was clear. The weather was perfect. And my energy was driven to accomplish every household chore and yard work that had been piling up on my list. I didn’t even consider these tasks to be an alternative workout in that moment.

I quickly scribbled an outline for my day:alternative workout

  • Workout
  • Clean kitchen: dishes, counters, appliances, floors
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Sweep & vacuum floors
  • Weed
  • Mow
  • Clean the grill
  • Laundry
  • Clean the fridge
  • Chop veggies and food for the week

It was quite the ambitious list but I had the energy so I dove in. First, I cleaned up the kitchen: wiped, scrubbed, swept and mopped. A while later, as I looked back and forth between the clock and my list, I thought, “Ok, one more hour on ‘the list’ then I’ll work out.”

Sixty minutes passed and the bathrooms were spotless, the furniture dusted, polished, and the main floor swept free of debris. I checked the clock. “20 more minutes and I’ll work out,” I promised myself. I vacuumed the stairs along with the upper level then dove into the task of cleaning the grill. All the while, I was doing an alternative workout without realizing it.

I scrubbed, and I mean scrubbed, the grill clean ridding it of all the grease, grime and built up weather from the past 9 months. I was in the zone so I shifted to the front yard where I weeded, mowed, and tended the landscaping for another hour or so. Again, another alternative workout went by unnoticed.

Once inside I went to my list and ticked off my chores with delight. But there was that “workout” sitting unmarked at the top of the list.

Hmmmm… I paused to check in with my energy and realized I was really pooped! I did not have the energy for a “traditional” workout because I had literally just “worked out” for several hours!

If you’re someone who thinks a workout doesn’t count unless it’s done in a gym, or with dumbbells, or under the supervision of your interval timer then you may need to think again. There are plenty of “chores” that give you an alternative workout as well.

alternative workoutDon’t underestimate the value of these non-traditional movement patterns and the amount of energy expended during these seemingly simple activities:

Gardening & Yard Work:

Mowing, weeding, trimming, planting, raking, landscaping, etc.

House Cleaning:

Scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming, window washing, laundry, etc.

Deep Cleaning:

Windows, baseboards, closets, storage rooms, power washing, etc.


alternative workoutInterior or exterior projects

Moving or Building:

Packing/unpacking, carrying boxes, carpentry, assembly, etc.

I have to tell you, I was pretty sore! It felt really good to wake up some “less used” muscles and to remind myself that movement is what matters, not whether I got in enough pushups or squats that day. Sometimes the best workout is simply getting some good old-fashioned chores done!

In Love & Gratitude,

Signature missi

Missi Holt

P.S. Which chore do you really feel the next day? Post to Facebook – mine was weeding… All that squatting and pulling was a great legs, back and core workout!

Missi Holt

Missi Holt is the fitness and nutrition editor for Early to Rise. She is a master nutrition therapist, certified yoga trainer, Certified Turbulence Trainer and an NSCA certified personal trainer (CPT). She also provides fitness and nutrition therapy through her own organization, Whole Life Health.