Parents, Here’s 5 Ways You Can Workout Without “Working Out”

Parents and kids can exercise at home, without even knowing it!  For parents, it would be a great thing to go to a gym three or more days a week, lift weights, and get in some serious calorie burning HIIT workouts to stay fit.  After all, who wouldn’t want to look and feel great, right? But the truth is most parents have neither time nor (let’s all be honest) desire to actually go to the gym.  Especially now, when we are all still encouraged to stay at home due to Covid.

Playing with your kids

Having to stay at home during quarantine has given parents a lot of free time with their kids. And playing with your children actually burns a lot of calories.  Think of it as a fun way to get your daily exercise.  Roughhousing and carrying your younger children on your back burns about 230 calories per hour.  If you have a big enough yard for a bit of outdoor bonding, playing Frisbee for half an hour a day burns about 205 calories. And, your kids benefit from play time too.  Apart from being able to bond with mum and dad, they also get to exercise.  Being cooped up at home for several months now and not able to see their friends and go to football practices – playing tag, or throwing Frisbee’s or organising mini sports competitions at home is a fun way to keep them physically and mentally healthy.  Lastly, it saves you from having to decide which sports camp to send them to  :-).

Cleaning your house

Another way for parents and kids to exercise at home; vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the windows, changing the bed sheets, doing laundry – all these can help you burn around 150 calories.  And it can be a fun activity too – one that your kids can participate in. With a few adjustments to your movements, you can increase the intensity and burn more calories while tidying up your home. Take for example vacuuming or mopping the floors. You can do a full lunge when you move the mop forward or reach for the vacuum. This engages your abdominal muscles and uses the big muscles on your lower body. Also, you can stand on your toes when you scrub or dust shelves or surfaces over your head. You can try standing on one leg (and then switch to your other leg after a minute) while you wipe down kitchen or bathroom counters. Standing on one leg or on your toes shapes your lower leg by engaging your calf muscles. It also tightens your core because you’re keeping your balance.

Gardening is great exercise for parents & children alike. Photo by CDC on Unsplash


Everybody knows that gardening and yard work is a good way to get some exercise.  But, not everyone knows that you actually can burn as much as 400 calories per hour when tending to your garden.  This is because you do a lot of movements that burn calories and can actually help tone muscles.  Depending on the type of yard work you do, you are most likely squatting – which is a form of isometric exercise, digging, lifting and walking around your garden.  So, family gardening is actually a great way for parents and kids to exercise at home. Of course the total calories burned will be different for everyone. Factors like metabolism, weight, age, gender and what kind of work you will do affects how many calories in total you burn. However, the best part of gardening is that if you really enjoy it, you are not watching the clock and before you know it, you have spent half a day getting a full body workout without the mental stress of going through an actual workout.  Plus, your garden will look great.

Washing the car

Yes – that unavoidable chore burns serious calories.  You need to pre-rinse, soap, scrub, rinse and wipe down the car which can burn a total of 234 calories per hour.  You can add to that by vacuuming the interior, scrubbing the tires, waxing and buffing.  The cleaner and shinier your car gets, the more calories you burn. So, the next time you are thinking of going for an automatic car wash service, think of the exercise opportunity you are missing out on.  Get your kids involved in washing the car – on a sunny day, hosing down the car and having fun is a great way to cool off and bond with the family.

Getting a massage

At the end of the day, after all the playing with your kids and washing the car and cleaning your house has been done – you are likely to feel achy and sore.  And, with that amount of ‘workout’ done, getting a massage is a great way to relax.  Problem is, you can’t exactly book a spa appointment right now. With the current social distancing protocols in place, the second best option is to DIY your massage sessions. This is where percussive massage devices like the massage gun are extremely useful.  While there is no solid proof that getting massages helps burn calories, what it definitely does is improve blood flow to your muscles, easing soreness and helps you recover from body aches quickly.  In addition, the muscle relaxing effect eases anxiety and helps you sleep better. Massage guns are portable, easy to use and practical.  You do not have to book a spa appointment and pay for expensive massage sessions.  You can use it anywhere and anytime you need a pick-me-up during a long day.  Massage guns are fairly new in the sports recovery industry.  So, it’s best that you check out reviews first before you decide if this is something that would work for you too.


And there you have it parents, the five ways you’re actually getting a full-body workout without you realizing it.  And, that is not even the best part.  The best part of it is these are activities that you do almost every day, and you can do it with your kids. So what do you think? Did we miss out on some other ways you get a workout without “working out?” Please e-mail and let us know!

About the Author

When Jai Tadeo isn’t at work writing full time for HYDRAGUN, she’s usually at home, running on her treadmill. When the weather’s great, she runs 5 kilometers outdoors after a day of writing. She’s also been unsuccessful at beating her husband at badminton every weekend for the past ten years. Jai Tadeo

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