Did you know that it’s possible to lose weight from shopping? It may sound too good to be true, but there are actually health benefits that come from this common activity. Any activity where we’re not sedentary helps— even if it’s just a little extra effort a week, you can accomplish big steps to better health. All of the lifting, shifting and even fidgeting will make a difference when it comes to achieving greater fitness.
Although most shoppers will enjoy a modest boost to their regular exercise routine, in some cases, the calories burned aren’t miniscule—they’re actually mind-blowing! According to research from the University of Hawaii,
“A more competitive “super-shopper” may walk up to five mall-miles in a three-hour shopping spree. Along with lots of fidgeting, reaching for merchandise, and waving at friends, calorie-burning can top 500 calories for our 100-pound person and up to 1,000 calories or more for the more substantial 200- to 300-pound shoppers.”
For the beginning, it’s important to start off slow; you don’t have to make like a maniac in the mall to enjoy the benefits of sneaking in some extra time for toning up—it can be easily incorporated in your day-to-day routine.
Start At the Grocery Store
Integrating more physical activity into your grocery shopping trips will help turn what’s traditionally a chore into a more meaningful endeavor, increasing your overall health. It may even make it a bit more fun! To get started:
Park Farther Away
There is immediate pleasure to finding a close parking space, but it won’t help you increase your fitness. Go for a back corner spot and increase the overall steps you take dramatically by walking to and from the far-away car. If at all possible, carry your bags to the car instead of putting them back into the cart at the checkout, too. If it the load is unmanageable, you can make up for the cart by walking back inside the store instead of stowing it back in the parking lot convenience rack.
Try a HIIT Approach
You may not be able to integrate the traditional intervals of a HIIT routine in the grocery store; but pushing yourself a little harder by ‘power shopping’ can make a big difference. Have a list prepared and pack your ear-buds to play your favorite workout playlist. Knowing where you need to go and what you need to get will help keep you from being distracted, and the boost from the music will increase your endurance for the duration of the activity.
Take an Alternative Means of Travel
If you’re not traveling heavy on the way home; consider an alternative to taking your car, like bicycling. According to research from the Mayo Clinic: “Although most people drive to the store, riding your bike 30 minutes there and back, for a total of an hour of bicycling, could burn nearly 300 calories if you weigh 160 pounds.” A brisk walk is another great way ramp up your routine to increase your fitness or weight loss goals.
Eat Before Your Trip
If your stomach is not full when you’re in the store, your cart sure will be—and not with the best nutrients possible for optimal health. Mindless food purchases made out of hunger can railroad even our best efforts to eat well. Make sure to stick to your list (don’t write that when you’re hungry, either!) and satiate yourself before you go. In the end, your waistline and your wallet will thank you.
Today, in the digital age, it’s easier than ever to track our habits. With wearable pedometers that measure each step of our day and apps that do the same, there isn’t an excuse to not know how many steps we take each day. Identify how many are right for you and get moving on your way to better health right now with an activity you already know, and that’s easy for you.