Is Pushing Shopping Carts a Workout

Is Pushing Shopping Carts a Workout

Man leaning on moving shopping cart with blurred background

Is Pushing Shopping Carts a Workout? Most people wouldn’t even think to ask that question. Every time we enter a supermarket, we’re presented with an opportunity that extends beyond just picking up our weekly groceries: the chance for a unique, albeit mild, workout. At first glance, it might seem far-fetched to compare gym sessions with grocery shopping. However, pushing that shopping cart has more health benefits than you might think!

Cardio in the Aisles

Strolling through each aisle, even at a leisurely pace, can add up in terms of steps and distance. If you spend a considerable amount of time shopping, the cardiovascular benefits are akin to taking a brisk walk. Your heart rate increases, and over time, such regular mild activities can contribute positively to heart health.

Strength Training

At the start of your shopping journey, your cart is light and easy to maneuver. But as you load up on groceries, pushing the cart becomes a test of strength, especially if you’re stocking up for the week. This progressive resistance is similar in principle to lifting weights at the gym. Your leg muscles, core, and even your arms get a mild workout.

Balance and Coordination on Aisle Five

Calisthenics enthusiasts often boast impressive balance and coordination from exercises like pistol squats and handstands. Similarly, maneuvering a loaded shopping cart around tight corners requires these skills, subtly engaging your stabilizing muscles.

Stretching and Flexibility

That top shelf? It’s your grocery store version of a calisthenics stretch. Reaching up high or squatting down low to grab products can improve flexibility over time, much like the dynamic stretches in a calisthenics routine.

Caloric Burn

The simple act of grocery shopping, often perceived as a mundane weekly chore, can have more fitness benefits than meets the eye. You might be surprised to know that an hour of wandering the aisles, selecting your favorite products, and pushing that steadily filling cart can actually torch a notable number of calories, placing it almost on par with a low-intensity calisthenics routine.

It’s a subtle blend of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and even flexibility exercises as you reach, bend, and stretch for various items. Just like in calisthenics where the intensity of your workout can be modified by the complexity of the moves, in grocery shopping, the caloric burn can be influenced by several factors. Your total burn predominantly depends on the cart’s accumulating weight, your shopping speed, and the duration of your trip.

The more loaded your cart becomes, the more effort is required to push it, thereby increasing the energy expended. Similarly, a faster-paced shopping trip, perhaps spurred by a crowded store or a limited time window, can up the calorie-burning ante. In essence, while it may not match the vigor of a dedicated workout session, grocery shopping can be a surprisingly effective physical activity in its own right.

Bone Density and Weight-Bearing Benefits

To ensure that the cart doesn’t wobble or stray off course, we often engage our core muscles unconsciously, much like an instinctive reaction to maintain balance. This action isn’t just about pushing forward; it’s also about counteracting any unexpected turns or shifts in the cart’s movement, especially as it fills and its center of gravity changes. Beyond muscle engagement, the act of pushing a heavy cart is a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises are known to promote bone health and improve bone density.

As we push against resistance (the loaded cart), our bones adapt to the load, becoming denser and stronger over time. This is particularly important as we age and naturally begin to lose bone mass, making activities like this crucial in combating conditions like osteoporosis. The combination of muscular and skeletal engagement during a grocery run not only benefits our muscles but also fortifies our bones.


It’s fascinating how something as mundane as a weekly grocery shopping trip can become a multi-faceted exercise session, sharing many similarities with a calisthenics workout. While calisthenics is generally more intensive and focused on building strength and flexibility through a variety of movements like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, pushing a shopping cart can also offer a well-rounded, albeit milder, physical experience. This involves cardiovascular health, strength training, flexibility, and core engagement—fundamental aspects commonly targeted in calisthenics.

Even though pushing a shopping cart shouldn’t be seen as a complete replacement for your regular exercise routine, it can certainly serve as a supplementary form of physical activity that complements your more strenuous workouts. For those who find it hard to carve out dedicated time for exercise, acknowledging the benefits of this everyday chore can be incredibly motivating. It’s a reminder that fitness opportunities are all around us, sometimes in the most unexpected places. Is pushing shopping carts a workout? Yes. After all, every little bit counts when it comes to our health.

So the next time you’re in the grocery store, remember that you’re not just restocking your pantry; you’re also engaging in a practical and beneficial form of physical activity. When you grip that shopping cart handle, envision it as your makeshift exercise bar, akin to the bars used in calisthenics, and embrace the subtle workout that comes with it. Happy shopping and happy training!