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Build a Workout with Everyday Moves

12 ways to turn chores into exercise.

You can turn everyday activities into a fitness routine by pairing them with simple exercises. You’ll get stronger and more toned in no time—without having to go to the gym.

  • Waking up: Do bridges. Lie on your back with your legs bent, feet flat. Slowly raise your butt and hips off the bed only as high as comfortable. Pause. Slowly lower. Do 10 to 12 reps.
  • Making the bed: Do side planks. Place your right forearm and elbow on the bed, stack your feet, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Do two reps on each side.
  • Making breakfast: Do rows. Hold a milk jug or other object in your right hand and hinge forward from your hips, legs staggered. Bend your elbow and pull the jug up toward your chest. Pause. Slowly lower. Do 10 to 12 reps with each arm.
  • Washing clothes: Do overhead presses. Hold a laundry basket or wet clothes (they weigh more) in front of your chest. Straighten your arms lifting the basket or clothes overhead. Pause. Slowly lower. Do 10 to 12 reps.
  • At your desk or computer: Do chair stands. Sit at the edge of your chair with feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended in front of you. Lean forward slightly and stand up. Slowly sit back down. Do 10 to 12 reps. For a greater challenge, just lightly touch the chair and immediately stand back up.
  • Vacuuming: Do walking lunges. Take a giant step forward and bend both knees, lowering your back one toward the floor. Stand up bringing your back foot forward for the next lunge. Do 10 to 12 reps with each leg.
  • Climbing stairs: Do a cardio burst. Climb the stairs as quickly as you can. Repeat throughout the day.
  • Grocery shopping: Do biceps curls. Holding a grocery bag in each hand. Bend your elbows bringing your hands toward your shoulders. Pause. Slowly lower. Do 10 to 12 reps. To make it easier, lift one arm at a time.
  • Dusting or picking things up: Do bird dogs. Get down on all fours. Extend your right arm in front of you as you extend your left leg behind you. Pause. Slowly lower and repeat with your opposite arm and leg. Do 10 to 12 reps on each side.
  • Cooking: Do counter pushups. Place your hands wider than shoulder width apart on a counter. Walk your feet back so your body is angled. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the counter. Pause. Press back to the starting position. Do 10 to 12 reps.
  • Washing dishes: Do calf raises. Lift your heels off the floor coming up onto your toes and balls of your feet. Pause. Slowly lower. Do 10 to 12 reps. For a greater challenge, balance on one leg at a time and do calf raises.
  • Brushing teeth: Balance on one leg. Raise one leg off the floor and balance for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg. Do two reps with each leg.
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