10 Physical Activities In Disguise

Physical activity is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure”. So who said that physical activity had to be endless laps of running or pull-ups? Who proclaimed that gyms or fitness centers were the only places to be physically active?

The answer: No One

Thus, I say no more to these assumptions – here are 10 fun activities that you may not have thought were physical activities but are!

1) Take the Stairs

I know we’ve all faced this predicament where we ask ourselves, do I take the elevator or stairs? And seconds are important when we are deciding on whether to take the easy way or the stairs.

Well, I’m here to tell you to please take the stairs! Taking the stairs is a great form of exercise and physical activity! Forcing your body to go up and down as you go up each step, engages the largest muscle groups in your body! Not to mention, it’s considered an equal or even better form of cardio than running!

Next time, take the stairs and maybe even have a competition with your friends to see who reaches the top first!

2) Take a Walk

Taking a walk around the block may seem a bit of an ordinary activity, so why not walk to a destination!

This is a fun way to be physically active while sightseeing! Pop in your earbuds or headset and take some time to appreciate everything your city has to offer – listen to some tunes as you take in the landscape, the people, and the art that is bound to catch your eye!

If you’re in the Vancouver area, there are murals all over thanks to the Vancouver Mural Festival last year, so make sure to check them out as even though the festival is over, the murals are still up!

Photo Credit: https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-walking

3) Gardening

I, unfortunately, cannot say I have a green thumb – but that hasn’t stopped me from going out into my garden and digging up some dirt!

Visualize the perfect garden and make it a DIY project! Apparently gardening for around 30 minutes can burn 300 calories- now that’s some intense exercise!

4) Laundry

The dreaded laundry. The mounting, sometimes horrifying, smelly beast that is laundry. It is a daunting task at times. But it is also a great way to get active!

Make it a game by competing with a friend, roommate, or family member on how fast you can fold! This is definitely a 2-for-1, as you can finish up some chores while being physically active!

A quick tip, make the decision to start the laundry (or any activity) in 3 seconds and force yourself to move once those 3 seconds are up. Starting is truly the hardest part – once that’s done, the rest is a breeze!

Photo Credit: https://cleaning.lovetoknow.com/laundry-tips/how-properly-do-laundry

5) Upside-Down Hair Wash

I can personally attest to the difficulty of this particular form of hair-washing! Trying to wash your hair upside down for extended periods of time is difficult, especially if you’re trying to not get your clothes wet!

Here are the general steps: Turn your head upside down, wet hair, and go about your normal hair routine. You can either be squatting, kneeling, or standing up, but after a couple of minutes, you’ll definitely feel the stretch in your neck and the pull in your glutes from trying to keep your body upright!

Recommended for folks with long hair!

6) Dancing

Now, dancing classes and dancing in a studio are all great physical activities! However, what I am referring to is the at-home, maybe-in-the-shower, dance like no-one is watching, dancing!

If you live with family or roommates and you’d rather not share your dance experience with them, then close the door, turn up the tunes (or put on Bluetooth headphones/earbuds), and rock out!

May I recommend some Disney classics, like Hoedown Throwdown from Hannah Montana, and We’re All in this Together from High School Musical!

Photo Credit: https://actinginlondon.co.uk/dancing-helps-actors-mental-health-big-time/

7) Video Games

Yes, video games can be physically active BUT not the ones you play sitting down!

There are many games nowadays that require you to move to play, such as those on the Wii and Dance Dance Revolution!  Not to mention, video games are a perfect option during the pandemic since you don’t need to go outside!

As an alternative, games like Twister, Hide-and-Seek, and Tag, are also great ways to get moving!

8) Afternoon with Kids

This one is specifically for those who have children around them, especially if the children are toddlers! The energy that toddlers display is amazing and keeping up with them is its own fantastic feat!

Spend an afternoon with them, giving piggybacks, jumping on a trampoline, or playing Tag! The children are happy and you get to be physically active – it’s a win-win!

For those who do not have children around them, you can also spend an afternoon playing with your pet! Give your pet piggybacks, play catch, or Hide-and-Seek!

Photo Credit: https://www.heart2heartcpr.com/babysitting-courses/

9) Geocaching

Do you like adventure? Treasure? Well, geocaching may be the right activity for you!

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt where you use your mobile device (or other navigational technologies) to find treasures hidden at specific coordinates around the world. Though you don’t keep the treasures or caches as they’re called, you do receive the fame and glory of finding a cache, signing the logbook, and posting your success online!

This may be a bit difficult due to the pandemic but it is definitely a fun physical activity to consider!

10) Movement Breaks

Last but not least, take around 5 to 10 minutes for a movement break! This is an opportunity for you to give yourself permission to move! Whether that be dancing to your favorite song or following along to a movement break by one of our Move U Crew members on Instagram (@ubcrec)!

Instead of feeling stressed by all the preparations needed to go to a gym or fitness center (e.g. finding workout clothes, scheduling, transportation, and so on), dedicate 5 to 10 minutes between study blocks or meetings to some type of movement – whether that be any of the ones recommended above or something else, as long as your skeletal muscles are moving!

Whether we notice or not, there are loads of activities that may not automatically be categorized as exercise or physical activity, but actually are! This means that even though we are in a pandemic, we have loads of opportunities to keep active!

Remember that Canada’s Health Guidelines recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week, which could easily be 10 15-minute walks or 10 quick movement breaks! Check out UBC’s Active At Home page for more resources and fun opportunities to stay active!