Christmas Fitness Tips: Does Shopping Count As Exercise?

I got asked this question the other day, and at first I thought it was funny, until I realized how creative it can be…

“Does shopping count as exercise? I hate the thought of going to the gym, so if I can find any way around that to keep active, then I will!”

So I thought I’d answer it here:

Now we’re into December and getting close to Christmas…

There’s something that we do around this time of year that that counts as good healthy habit.

It can help keep you active and burn calories! And guess what it is??


Christmas shopping – THE busiest shopping time of the year.

Now Christmas shopping can do one of two things – cause you frustration and stress, OR bring you delight and enjoyment.

But let me ask you this – have you ever considered that shopping might be a legitimate addition to your weekly exercise routine?

I’m serious – hours of walking around malls and stores can quickly add up to huge amount of steps, and you can burn up to 200 calories doing so!

To put that into context, if you see someone out jogging, they’ll have to run at the same pace for up to 30 minutes to burn the same amount of calories.

And even though they’re keeping active for a shorter amount of time, for those of you who don’t enjoy jogging or part of class -- shopping, especially at this time of year is a great alternative to keeping active.

Of course I’m not saying shopping alone should replace your regular exercise regime, but it’s good to know that an everyday activity like this counts towards your daily exercise goals.

Not to mention, the next time someone says you shop too much, you can use this as the perfect excuse!

Now I know sometimes it’s difficult, there’s always so many people around, and it seems like it would be a much better idea to order everything online.

But try to resist the urge to buy it all online.

You don’t get the opportunity to do something new, such as exercise, by ordering it all online – not to mention keeping active during winter is always a great way to stick to your health goals.

If you’re wondering about other daily activities that can count as exercise that I mentioned, here are some ideas for you:

  • Cleaning the house
  • Washing your car (although maybe not a great idea in winter!)
  • Walking the dog
  • Playing with the kids or grandkids

There are plenty of options, but doing your Christmas shopping is a win-win! You get all the Christmas presents bought, and you are exercising and burning calories.

So my take away for you today is this: while traditional exercises like running and finding a fitness class you enjoy are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle – everyday activities can be an additional way to get you moving.

Trupti Mehta, PT, MS, OCS

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