If there’s nothing but condiments in the fridge and a can of olives in the pantry, then grocery shopping just moved up in priority on your already packed to-do list. So much for sneaking in a workout, right? Wrong. Just because you can’t go to the gym or run your paces on a track doesn’t mean exercise is a total bust for the day. When you head to the supermarket to stock up on healthy staple meals and snacks, squeeze in a few of the following tasks to make the most of your grocery going.
Cart Cardio: If you usually feel lucky getting front-row parking, retrain your brain to think the back of the lot is a lot better. Parking farther away from the store–as well as from the cart return–means more steps to take when coming and going. More steps taken means more fat and calories burned.
Basket Biceps: Have a shorter list of shopping needs? Skip the push cart and choose a handheld basket instead. Switch the carrier from hand to hand as you load up the weight. Work in a few bicep curls on each arm as your perusing the aisles. For more intensity, change the position of your palm. Try some curls with your palm facing your body and some with the palm facing the floor.
Pick up the Pace: Instead of the boring “muzak” playing over the speakers, plug into your workout playlist. If your tunes make you move quicker when exercising, they can help you do the same thing when you’re shopping. Find a brisk pace to get your heart beating a little faster while at the same time allowing you to shop smart and not run over other customers.
List Fit: A list is sure to help you remember everything you need at home, but it can also be used to create two different workout routines. To get started with both, you first need to know how your grocery store is organized. If you’ve been shopping at the same market for a while, you probably have a mental map. If not, ask the store if they have printed maps available, or look on the website.
Speed-Shopping Workout: In this workout, set up your shopping list so that it it follows the natural flow and set-up of the grocery store. As you enter the store, set your watch or timer to track how fast you can get in, grab the items on your list, and to the checkout. Stop the clock when you get in line. Each time you shop, try to beat your time–no matter how many items you have! This workout is perfect when you have a busy day and need to get in and out quickly.
The Rat Race: In this workout, set up your shopping list so that it forces you to go back and forth across the store multiple times. The idea is still to work quickly but add in additional terrain to cross, causing you to move more. You can time this workout as you did in the first piece, but keep in mind that distance is more important than speed.
Lift and Lower: When shopping from shelves, bring your legs and core into play. Need multiple items from the bottom shelf? Squat to grab and place in the cart one item at a time so that you get in more work. If no one is in the aisle (or if there is and you could care less) add in a few more squats just for fun. For items on higher shelves, raise up onto your tip toes for a great calf strengthener. When buying canned items, put a can in each hand and do a few shoulder presses. In no time, you’ll be a lean, mean, baked bean lifting machine.
Paper or Plastic Game: When bringing in the groceries, make it a game. Paper bags represent cardio and plastic represents strength. For paper, only bring one bag in at a time, but do it a jog or fast-walk pace. For plastic, gather as many as you can hold and build your strength as you collectively carry.
You don’t have to turn your shopping trip into one of those grocery store game show races, but if you move a little quicker and turn regular functional movements into exercises or a game, you can burn a few extra calories while crossing an errand off your to-do list.
We want to know: What three items are staples of your shopping list?