Daily Activities Can Be Daily Exercise

Justine Cosman, Physical Therapist

Author: Justine Cosman, PT, DPT : Doctor of Physical Therapy, Business Owner, Associate Professor, and Blog Contributor. Explores common client questions and helps find solutions for every day functional health concerns, and then some. Loves empowering others, seeking adventure, and learning every day. Learn more about Justine on Google+.

As physical therapists, we have heard a myriad of reasons why it may be challenging to work exercise into the day. This is completely human - change is hard! New habits are hard! At the same time, it can be easier than you may think.

Chores are Exercise

Let's be real: our own daily chores can very well be exercise! Exercise is essentially movement :)

Cool part is, you can choose different ways to mix your chores to create a great circuit routine and feel even more productive as you do it! For instance, 10 minutes of dishes, followed by 10 minutes of sweeping, followed by 10 minutes of laundry - repeat as needed. What is nice about brief breaks in between your work, is you give different muscles a rest in between that allows you to do more without over fatiguing or provoking symptoms. Plus, you will likely get in a few extra steps moving from one task to another!

This is not meant to make you feel pressured to do chores :) It is simply meant to help you look at all the activities that you are doing in life to help enlighten you as to why some days you may feel more sore/worked than others - could be those chores!


Having to reach overhead or performing rhymic circles are great ways to keep your shoulder joint happy and healthy.

Doing the Dishes


Again, rhymic circles are great. Plus there is the benefit of a little added weight (i.e. dishes) and the ability to work on standing endurance.

Folding and Putting Away Clothing

The forward leaning that is necessary to work on laundry is a core stability exercise! Make sure your trunk is in line - if you are doing it right, you should feel light core engagement :)


This is one of my favorites :) It get's us down into lower squats and kneeling. Great for getting the knee into some less common ranges, while also getting some arm work in.



Vary it up and perform the task on your non-dominant side. Work some on light rotation through your trunk. Use your legs to perform some of the motion to take the load off your shoulders.


This is weightlifting! Alternate arms to give each side a break. Since more weight is involved, work on keeping your torso tall and place the rotation through your hips instead of your spine.

Walking the Dog/Playing with a Pet

Walking is, by far, one of the best forms of exercise you and your pet can benefit from. Plus, playing with them doesn't feel like work at all :)

Window Washing/Floor Scrubbing

Again, those shoulder circular motions are great! Vary up the angles and directions of the circles. Keep those upper shoulders down from your ears. Share the load on each side - those shoulders will feel great if you listen to how they feel :)

Now soreness is one thing, but pain is another. You SHOULD NOT have pain with these activities. If you do, there are ways to modify them to make them feel better as you grow stronger. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more!