7 Everyday Outdoors Activities That Contribute to Your Daily Exercise

By Teri Silver – April 24, 2023

It may not be high-impact cardio, but many everyday activities count as some form of exercise. 

According to Mayo Clinic, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, which boils down to about 20 minutes each day, something everyone can do to stay active. And the best part is, in a city like Austin, you can enjoy the warm weather while doing something small each day.

Here are seven everyday outdoor activities that count as exercise. 

(Note: This article is primarily talking about getting the minimum amount of physical activity recommended. If you’re losing weight or bulking, you’ll probably need to do more.)

1. Walking the Dog

It’s always better to have a buddy while exercising, so get some fresh air and take a walk at Red Bud Isle, Shoal Creek Greenbelt, or any other trail or park in Austin. Whether you take a casual stroll or step up the pace, you and your dog will benefit from fresh air, sunshine and movement.

2. Mowing the Lawn

Sure, having a riding lawnmower is the easier thing to do, but if you want to make use of your body while tending the yard, having a walking mower is the way to go. Mowing the lawn the right way isn’t the only part of this activity; maintaining the mower takes a bit of movement, too, especially when you’re sharpening blades and changing the oil. Push mowers strengthen your core and quad muscles. The main idea is that with a walking mower, you’re walking, and mowing in straight lines helps you practice balance and coordination.

3. Gardening

Older man gardening.

Gardening and yard work is a serious workout, and if anyone ever tells you it isn’t, just keep laughing. Digging a garden plot, hoeing the soil, placing seeds and plants in the ground, watering, trimming, and fertilizing –– it’s a lot of work. Weeding is good exercise, too, and you’ll burn even more calories if you combine it with raking, planting and pruning.

4. Outdoor Cleanup

Homeowners know there’s always a list of outdoor chores to do, especially at the start of each season. So get to work on your yard and your body!

  • Sweeping and power washing the driveway takes physical effort.
  • Washing the car can burn calories; add in some calf raises to reach the roof and squats to wash the tires.
  • Painting and staining rails, decks, shutters and doors engage your core as you stretch your arms up high and bend down low.
  • Cleaning out leaves and debris from gutters is challenging work. Climbing up and down a ladder can be dangerous, though, so be sure you always take safety precautions.
  • Remove junk and boxes of old stuff you don’t need anymore. Reaching up on a high shelf and lowering down to fill a box on the ground is excellent exercise. Lifting boxes into your car is a good weight-bearing and cardio exercise, but remember to always lift from your knees. 

5. Getting the Mail

Lots of neighborhoods these days have community mailboxes instead of individual ones at the end of the driveway. Do you often find yourself stopping there in your car on your way in or out? Instead of driving to get the mail, take a walk or ride your bike. If you do have a mailbox at the end of your driveway, you may be like me and stop to get it before pulling into the garage. My calves would thank me if I were to walk up and down the hill that is my driveway instead.

6. Taking out the Trash

Person taking trash.

Between garbage and recycling, the average person creates about five pounds of trash per day or almost 150 pounds per month. If you’re taking out bags of trash a couple of times a week, that’s quite the load to lift. Add in wheeling the cans to the end of the driveway each week, and you’ve got yourself a mini sweat sesh.

7. Parking Farther Away

I always think it’s good luck when I get the closest spot to the store –– I just know I’m going to find what I need when I get inside. On the other hand, parking in a spot farther away is probably good luck for my car; it’s less likely to get a door ding when there aren’t any other cars around. Consider parking farther away to protect your car and, bonus, you get to increase your step count for the day.

Exercise can be hard to do, especially for those who’ve never been truly physically active throughout their lives. Start with the simple activities you do every day and then go from there. Doing something is always better than doing nothing, especially because none of us is getting any younger.

About the Author

Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on five acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.


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