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13 Ways to Get in Shape While Accomplishing Something Useful

Posted Dec 13 2008 11:08pm
Mowing the Lawn
Mowing the Lawn

After initially proofreading this post I was thinking to myself that I wouldn’t post it because it’s not a training article, and quite frankly some of the activities are pretty foo-foo. But on second thought, some of these ideas apply more to men, while others apply more to women, so there is something in this list for everyone.

I recommend referring to this list on your next boring spring, summer, or autumn weekend. When you are looking for something to do around the house or around the yard, these ideas might inspire you to create, clean, fix, or just burn extra calories.

After all being swole doesn’t always have to be about squatting, benching, power cleaning (the Olympic lift), or sprinting. Being swole is much more about the path we take to get there, than the end result. Although when you look great naked, the end result is pretty sweet.

13 Obscure Ideas for Accomplishing Stuff While Getting Exercise

 

  1. Chop Wood
    Put down that chain saw and grab your axes. You should have a hatchet, a regular axe, a 10 lb wedge, and a sledgehammer to whack the top of the wedge. Don’t forget to wear gloves.

    Use the hatchet for branches and sticks. Use the regular axe to chop your typical log. Use the wedge to chop knotty wood, or really large slabs of hard wood like oak.

    Firstly you need to find some trees to cut down. Grab your traditional axe and head out into the woods. Find a tree to chop down and start swinging. Dead and dying trees are much easier to chop than live trees. FYI.

    Do not chop straight into the wood, instead chop notches out of 1/2 of one side of the tree. Go around to the other side and continue to cut notches from that 1/2 of the tree. By chopping strategically, you can maintain total control over where and how the tree finally falls.

    Now haul that tree back to your yard or chopping block. You have to carry it on your shoulder Commando-style though.

    Arnold in Commando
    Arnold in Commando

    Decide if you want to chop your wood into pieces, or use it whole as training equipment. With a solid tree trunk, you can mimic many of the exercises performed in the Highland Games and World’s Strongest Man.

    Chop that sucker up into 12 x 4 x 4 inch slices and stack them in a pile. You can either sell this as firewood, take it camping, or burn it in your own wood stove.

  2. Rake the Leaves
    You won’t get much of a pump, but you will burn calories if you have big yard. The kids benefit because they can then jump in the leaf pile and scatter the leaves all across the yard again. You should inevitably pile these leaves in with organic waste to make a nutrient-rich mulch for next year’s landscaping efforts.
  3. Mow the Lawn
    Turn off the tractor mower and instead choose the push mower. If you have a self-propelled mower then you are out of luck. Similar to raking the leaves, you’ll burn more calories if you have a bigger yard.

    Want to make it even harder? Don’t use anything to catch the grass, that way you’ll have to rake up the grass clippings once you’ve finished mowing. (OK, so that’s a huge waste of time.)

  4. Dig a Hole
    No matter what you are digging, you will most surely get a workout. Keep a steady rhythem and never stop digging until your whole body burns. And it will. Always remember to wear gloves or you will regret it the next day.

    Snow, dirt, clay, rocks, ice, mud. If there’s anything for you to shovel, go shovel it.

    Reasons to dig a hole:

    • Put up a basketball hoop or flag pole.
    • Make a swim hole, duck pond, or skating rink.
    • A booby-trap for the jerky neighbor.
    • Find rocks, which you can then use to build stuff… like a wall or fortress. =P
  5. Build Something
    Working with wood, rocks, and heavy equipment works your upper body, especially your arms and upper back. Always remember to lift heavy objects with your legs for a great lower body workout too.

    Things you could build:

    • A shed, garage or man cave.
    • A tree house for the kids.
    • A dog house for Spike.
    • A dresser or bureau.
    • Cabinets
    • Build wooden furniture and start a business selling them online.
    • A stone wall or anything else requiring you to carry rocks around.
  6. Clean the Garage
    You know there are a ton of boxes and other junk out there to sort through. If you spend one full day cleaning the garage, you will most likely not have to go to the gym that day… and probably not the day after either.
  7. Help Someone Move
    The opportunity to do this doesn’t come around often, but when it does you should jump on it. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as walking around with a fridge or a washing machine in your arms.

    Consider posting your services on Craigslist and you might even be able to charge money for it.

  8. Walk the Dog
    Many flabby folk have started their fat loss strategy by pledging to walk the dog for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Make puppy jog a bit and maybe even run for a while. You and pup will bond and he will develop a strong cardiovascular system, which will help him live to a ripe old age.
  9. Vacuum
    Listen. Pushing the vacuum around the house for an hour is not much of a workout, but the house has to be cleaned, so make the best of it. This is probably more of a tip for a chubby mommy.
  10. Wash Windows and Mirrors
    Another mommy tip I suppose, but if you go clean some windows for an hour without stopping, you will know the true meaning of lactic acid burn. A window washing workout once a week for a couple hours will definitely contribute to shoulder definition.
  11. Walk or Ride Instead of Drive
    Walk to where you have to go if possible. Better yet, ride your bike. Anything beats driving when it comes to burning calories.
  12. Take Stairs Instead of the Elevator
    This is one of those typical tips that all fitness experts put at the top of their list. They have a good point though. Why waste a perfectly good calorie burning opportunity? Besides, when terrorists bomb your city you will have a much greater chance of escaping if you are in the stairwell, than if you are stuck in the elevator.
  13. Gardening and Landscaping
    I got this idea from the same website that also mentioned washing windows and vacuuming. The thing I like about gardening is that it is very relaxing, and when you’ve finished you can really take pride in your yard.

    For a better workout, consider landscaping. When landscaping you will be digging holes, planting tress, excavating rocks, and carrying around various lawn and garden ornaments such as stones, bridges, and other heavy stuff.

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