Don’t Rely on Chores as Exercise

John Paul Ouvrier

John Paul Ouvrier

Taking a walk is one of best ways to exercise and one of the most common excuses I hear for not taking a walk is, “I already get my exercise by doing my chores each day.” So is this true? Usually not. Now if you live in a mansion, or the dining room is in another building that’s one thing. However most movement around the house (chores, daily activities, etc.), while good for us are usually not strenuous enough, nor of enough duration for benefit. In addition we adapt to our daily activities, and adaption can become very limiting.

For instance, if a person stays busy and walks around the house throughout the day, this is a far cry from actually walking miles at a time, even though this person may walk a fair distance within the home. The biggest concern is that relying on movement around the house each day is that it can be a subtle way to weaken the body because as human beings we tend to do less as time goes on. And this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy: We do less, we lose a little strength, we do a little less and so it goes.

I can’t tell you how many homebodies I have spoken to over the years that are under the impression that their chores are an equal substitute for getting out and taking a walk. Usually they will deny it, and if I can talk them into going out for a walk, they are always surprised by how much weaker they are than they thought they were.

In fact, the only way to keep your endurance up within four walls is to have set exercise routines that have the distance and duration measured. Relying on getting your exercise with your daily chores at home is like how most of us get busy and can’t remember if we drank enough water or not. And most of the time we didn’t.

The truth is we can lose track of what we do or don’t do indoors, and then the day is gone and we have most likely done less than we think. Then the time comes to go out and do something, and we feel weak, off balance, scared, tired, winded, etc., and we wrongly think we’ll just retreat into the home, get some strength back and we’ll be fine. But it’s a morass of self deception: We get back into the home, we feel better. Outside feels bad. We stop going out, and we do less and less, until the chair becomes our best friend, and we think, “I will get up in a little while and exercise…” And then the day is gone. And tomorrow is more of the same, until the walk from the chair to the bed may as well be the length of a football field.

Now I know there are medical professionals who may frown on my words and say, “That is not true for everyone; many are unable to walk…” I know that, and my choice of words is to make everyone realize, emotionally, that without a concentrated effort (that your doctor approves), whether walking indoors or out, or using a floor peddler, or chair yoga, or something, we as human beings fool ourselves into thinking ourselves strong while our activities are not enough of an effort to keep us strong.

So let me conclude by saying: Please, please, please, whatever your exercise- if you don’t live on a farm and you’re not as busy as you’d like to think, then dedicate some time every day to go walking and stay strong. If not walking, then something separate it from your daily chores. This way you stand the best chance of keeping your strength and youthful muscles for as long as the good Lord has intended for you. As my late minister father John Michael Ouvrier, used to tell me, “John Paul, God may have given you a garden, but you have to pull the weeds yourself!” Amen.

Inactivity, especially subtle inactivity masking as activity, is a weed that can rob the strongest of strength. Don’t rely on chores as exercise- make exercise one of your chores! Get busy my friends. (Thanks dad- miss you.)

~Because you’re stronger than you think, and you can do more than you know!~

John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at and bring him in to entertain your audiences! and

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