Can’t get to the gym this holiday season? Grab a vacuum.

"People don’t realize that is exercise," says Catrine Tudor-Locke, assistant professor of health promotion at Arizona State University.

A vigorous stint of vacuuming or scrubbing the floors can help recoup the benefits of exercise routines lost amid the hustle and bustle of preparations for the holiday season.

"Shopping is a great activity for the holidays which requires walking," Tudor-Locke says. "Just don’t worry about getting a close parking space."

She is part of a growing school of thought in exercise studies touting the health benefits of daily activities over trips to the gym.

A visit to the exercise calendar at reveals 90 minutes of housecleaning has the same energy expenditure as 30 minutes of aerobics. Clearing out an illegal waste dump for 30 minutes burns as many calories.

Still, putting vigor into your daily routine doesn’t mean you can eat holiday treats with abandon. Portion control is still important: If you eat a brownie, cut it into tiny pieces and share with someone, Tudor-Locke says.

"Still enjoy it, but dilute things a bit," she says. "Every time you have a cookie, shake yourself out there on the dance floor."

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