07 Sep Make Housework WORKout for you!
Let Housework WORKout for You!
Most people (especially busy women with too much to do already!) have at least two things in common:
- They have to do at least some housework.
- They hate doing it.
When we are forced to make a decision between having a clean kitchen and having rock-hard abs, many of us opt for the easy out. We give in to common, accepted excuses for not exercising. “I’m too busy,” or “If I exercise, nothing will get done around the house” are my favorite, tried-and-true personal refrains.
But what if you could make housework work for you? What if you could kill two birds with one wonderfully productive stone? In addition to the feel-good effects of exercise, your housework routines would be more productive and less of a downer. Get cleaning!
Making the Most of Household Chores
Many household duties can be transformed into mini-workouts with a little creativity. Although housework can already boast some impressive calorie burns, you can easily up the count by incorporating more movement, weight-bearing, or strenuous motion into your to-dos.
Try the following suggestions or think of your own alterations that put a little oomph into your weekly chore list – The Housework Workout!
- Scrub a floor the old-fashioned way—with a brush and water bucket! Alternate yoga cat poses with the occasional push-up and leg extension for a varied workout. If that’s not sounding fun, work your abs with occasional plank poses or try cleaning the whole floor while on a stability ball.
- Dance (or jog in place) while you mop, sweep, or vacuum. Singing is optional!
- Do bicep curl repetitions with grocery bags from the car to the house.
- Be a little less efficient. Instead of taking a whole load of laundry upstairs in one trip, make one trip for each room you have to visit, going back and forth for each new batch. You can also collect dirty dishes from the living room or office one dish at a time, making extra trips to keep moving.
- Repeat your spring cleaning in the fall. If your windows or baseboards really need a thorough cleaning, wipe them again with the happy knowledge that you’re burning double the seasonal cleaning calories!
- Try shuffles and lunges while washing the car. Shimmy back and forth or hold forward lunges while you scrub, and jog in place while you rinse.
- Perform calf raises and squats while you wash dishes.
- Lift dumbbells while you balance the monthly budget.
- Do jumping jacks while you wait for sanitizing spray to disinfect the countertop.
- Perform shoulder presses with a laundry basket or the bucket of cleaning supplies while you bring them to their destination.
- Follow dance steps while you dust—try the cha-cha or a basic salsa step to get grooving!
- Race a family member. This not only helps get the cleaning done more quickly (and with help from someone else!), it also makes it more fun and encourages you to run, rush, and get out of breath as you work.
Just about any chore can be a little more exhausting (and calorie-burning!) with leg lifts and hopping added to the mix. Take advantage of your cleaning time as an opportunity to incorporate stretching, repetitions, and constant motion into your routine.
Regular housework shouldn’t be a substitute for regular workouts—or your foolproof excuse—but since it has to get done sooner or later, you might as well put it to work for you. Burn more calories, get a clean house, and (if you are one of those people who really would work out if it weren’t for too much housework) feel a little less guilty about sacrificing your workout on the altar of home maintenance for a day!
About the author: Katie Brind’Amour, MS, is a Certified Health Education Specialist and no stranger to the housework vs. exercise dilemma. She spends her time chipping away at a PhD in Health Services Management and Policy or blogging about the importance of friendship. In her spare time, she pretends to be a foodie and enjoys hunting for the best possible wine affordable on a student budget.
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