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Off your workout routine? All movement matters!

“How to exercise, without exercising” sounds like the title of a questionable self-help book. But it’s not an oxymoron after all. Here’s the thing: It’s not just formal exercise that counts for your health. All movement matters. After all, your body may not know if you’re at the gym in workout gear or raking leaves in your flannel shirt and jeans. As long as your attitude is the same, your body may just sense you moving joyously! According to a recent study, 30 minutes a day of light activity like household chores and walking for errands lowered the risk of dying early by 12 percent. Keep in mind that washing dishes, walking to the mailbox, and doing yard work may seem like drudgery, but these basic activities help keep you alive and kicking. And don’t stop there. In the study, people who did 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking in addition to their light activity reduced their risk of an early death by a whopping 39 percent. The upshot: You don’t need to run 10Ks or get up at 5 a.m. for boot camp class to stay healthy (though if you have a vigorous exercise routine and enjoy it, by all means keep it up!). Do whatever you can to move more and get your heart rate up when you can. That pile of laundry could take on a whole new meaning: vitality.

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