Do you need an organized exercise regimen or do your daily chores provide the workout you need?

When we were young and in good health it seldom, if ever, occurred to us that one day we would be too old to dance the night away. We were full of vim and vinegar. No one had to tell us that we needed to get more exercise; we were always in motion from the time we woke up in the morning to the time we called it a day — sometimes in the wee small hours of the next morning. And then, one day, we realized that it was time to slow down.

So, we took off our dancing shoes, put on a pair of house shoes and passed the time on a comfy couch reading a book or watching TV. But just as we began to accustom ourselves, friends, family and our doctors sounded the alarm, telling us that we needed to get more exercise. Go for a long walk, they said. Go to the gym and work out. They were right, of course: as Sir Isaac Newton put it, “A body at motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest.” And, too much rest, can lead us to a final resting place.

Indeed, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians “Exercise is an important part of nearly everyone’s everyday health, including older adults. Experts say seniors should be as active as possible. If you are an older adult, exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life.”

We Baby Boomers tend to be nonconformist individualists, as someone once put it, and a goodly number of us may not be the type to engage in organized workouts. But we do prefer an active lifestyle. That means we like to keep busy, and we like to engage in systemic activities in our daily lives — activities that keep us on the go in ways that burn energy. So, does that count as “exercise?” The consensus is that it just might.

National Academy of Sports Medicine reports, “Absolutely, cleaning your house is exercise.  While you may not be in a gym pumping iron or running on a treadmill, it is still exercise and requires you to work and burn more energy than being sedentary.  Cleaning the house is an example of moderate intensity activity, the kind the NASM and health experts recommend that you perform daily to maximize health and fitness.  Daily chores like cleaning your house, mowing the lawn, cleaning the car, shopping for food and other things are all examples of moderate exercise, which helps improve health and fitness.”

As always, said the Association of Mature American Citizens, when it comes to matters of health, it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. So rather than “guessing” that your daily chores provide the exercise you need, make a list and check it with your doctor.