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Several Ways to Burn More Calories While Shopping

Updated on June 28, 2019
Lorra Garrick profile image

Former ACE-certified personal trainer Lorra Garrick has trained men & women for fat loss, muscle building, more strength and more fitness.

There are several ways to use as many calories during a shopping trip as possible.

What to Wear on Your Feet

This first starts with wearing comfortable walking shoes rather than sandals, flip-flops or high heels.

But even if you’re caught off-guard with an unexpected trip to the store while you’re in flip-flops, or need to shop right after work when you’re in high heels, there are still things you can do to boost the overall calorie burn.

You can also make a point of always having walking footwear in your vehicle for those times you may need to change footwear.

Avoid Escalators

Take the nearby staircase, even if it’s long and you’re carrying something. Challenge yourself to go up two steps at a time as well, or trot up the steps. Take the stairs down as well.

Managing Crowds

Try to make your way around crowds rather than with crowds. When people move in large groups, they lope like fat cattle. You don’t want to get stuck in this; go around them at a brisk pace.

Pushing a Cart

When pushing a cart, walk briskly. Just because you’re pushing a cart (even with preschoolers in it) doesn’t mean you must move like a turtle. The only reason to slow down is to view or handle merchandise, or avoid some kind of obstacle.

Otherwise, if you’re done in the hair care section and it’s time to go to the electronics section, walk briskly as you push the cart, even if it’s a short distance to your next stop.

Do this in particular if you can clearly see that the aisle ahead of you is clear. To burn more calories shopping, every bit of brisk movement counts.

Often, the carts I just happen to choose are noisy due to an errant wheel. The faster I push the cart, the more the noise attracts attention: People will stare.

Rather than allow this to revert you back to a slow pace, just ignore it and keep on briskly pushing the cart. If strangers you’ll never see again are allowing the noise of a quickly-pushed shopping cart to distract them – that’s their problem, not yours.

For those shopping with one preschooler or toddler, consider carrying them in a specially designed backpack for holding very young children. This will add resistance to your body (more calories burned), plus eliminate having to keep a constant eye on your child.

“Would you like someone to carry your bags to your car?”

Unless you’re recovering from an injury or have an illness that contraindicates physical exertion, do not accept the checkout bagger’s offer to carry your packages to your car, no matter how heavy.

If you truly cannot hoist a 40 pound sack of dog food into your trunk, then of course, have an employee do it for you.

But accepting the bag-carrying offer simply out of convenience? That’s not how you’ll burn more calories.

It’s better that you have everything in a cart and push the cart to your car, and then load your car without assistance.

And when pushing the cart to your car, really move briskly. The cart will not break, no matter how much noise it creates along the knobby pavement. Push the doggone thing with a fast clip.

Pretend you’re at the gym pushing a weighted sled apparatus. Even if the parking lot goes slightly uphill, briskly push the cart.

Can these calorie-burning tips really make a difference?

In a few ways, yes. But not in the sense of going from a size 14 to a size 8. The extra calories burned won’t be enough to cause that much of a change.

But hey, if you shop frequently and remain faithful to these extra steps, you could lose several pounds over a course of time.

However, you should employ these measures even if you don’t want to lose weight or don’t care about calories burned.

First off, brisk and spunky movement in your daily activities of living will help keep your body more vibrant and will help preserve good mobility.

And secondly, a woman who’s seen moving with a peppy pace looks less vulnerable to a person nearby who’s scoping out potential victims for a crime.


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