By Patience Bradley, author of The HouseWork WorkOut
Many people struggle to find time to exercise. Sometimes just finding a little bit of time in our hectic schedule is virtually impossible. So don’t try! At the end of the day cleaning and tidying your house is something you simply have to do, modifying your household chores shouldn’t be that hard.
By turning your household chores into a workout you can increase your heart rate and work your major muscle groups. From hoovering, mopping and dusting to gardening and even cleaning the kitchen, there’s hundreds of exercises you can do at home.
When doing your HouseWork WorkOuts it’s a good idea to do these in 30 minutes slots. You could even create a 30 minute playlist to work out to. Don’t forget that having up-beat and fast music on will help to keep you motivated, studies show that working out to fast music will increase your pace (which in turn increases your heart rate and therefore see you burning more calories), and the music typically makes you work out for longer.
1. Vacuum Your Entire House
Vacuuming can be a great exercise for your core and abs if you keep those muscles tense while cleaning. It burns around 190 calories per hour, but if you want to take this exercise further and burn more calories, do lunge motions while taking steps to work right in to those glutes.
2. Sweep Or Mop Your Floors
Prepare your floors by clearing the surfaces so you can clean as many as possible in quick succession. Where you can, squat rather than bending over to lift items and get to those hard-to-reach areas. Mopping burns around 195 calories per hour, but don’t forget to switch between your right and left arms to ensure an even work out. Use a good amount of elbow grease when you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing to work out your arms and shoulders, and remember to hold that tummy in while doing so to work out those abs.
3. Run Up And Down The Stairs
When you are tidying-up, and bringing items up or down the stairs, opt to repeat the action more often than you actually need to. For example, when bringing items upstairs, run up and down the stairs three times, as opposed to the one time that you need to. Walking up and down stairs at a brisk pace burns around 500 calories per hour. To turn this in to a toning exercise, go up two stairs at a time, but at a slower pace, so that it becomes a controlled strength exercise as opposed to a cardio one.
4. Do Calf Raises As You Wash Dishes
Start with your legs hip-width apart, before lifting up on to your toes. Hold this position for three to 10 seconds, before slowly coming down to stand on your whole feet again. Repeat this exercise 10 times per set, for three sets, with one minute rest in between sets.
5. Clean All Of Your Windows (Inside & Out)
Use both your left and right hands and arms to ensure an equal work out, and clean in a circular motion. Reach as high as you can to work your abs and oblique muscles (your waist). Cleaning windows burns around 180 calories per hour. The same applies to cleaning surfaces, mirrors, and dusting.
6. Weed Your Garden & Trim Plants
If weeding on your hands and knees, ensure you use proper cushioning, and engage your abs by keeping them tense throughout the work out. If you are doing short duration weeding in bursts, try squatting instead, and don’t forget to squat when gathering up the waste to put it in garden bags. Gardening in this way burns approximately 289 calories per hour.
7. Wash Your Car By Hand
Many of us enjoy the convenience of taking our cars to automatic or manual car wash services, but if you want to take advantage of nice weather, and get a work out in at the same time, wash your car by hand instead. A full car clean includes wetting, cleaning, rinsing, drying, and polishing, which are all fantastic actions for your arms and abs, as well as squatting to reach the lower areas of the vehicle, or to wet your chamois or sponge in soapy water. If you want to maximise this work out, clean the inside of your car, including the windows and hoovering the carpets and seats. Cleaning your car by hand burns around 230 calories per hour.
8. Make-The-Bed Triceps Dips
Depending on your skill level, changing bed sheets can feel like a work out on its own, especially if it’s a double. Maximise the benefits of doing this chore by fitting in some arm toning exercises at the same time. Sit on the edge of the bed with your hands placed palms down next to your hips, fingers facing forward. Scoot off the bed until you are only supported by your arms and feet. The further your feet are from the bed, the harder this exercise is. Lower down slowly, keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, and use your arms to push yourself back up. Repeat 10 times in one set, for three sets, with one minute rest in between sets.
9. Toilet Split Squats
When cleaning the toilet and the bathroom, use the toilet (with the seat down) to perform Bulgarian Split Squats. Place one foot on the toilet and your front foot far enough out in front of you so that you can lunge down without your knee going over your toes. Slowly lower your body down and use your extended leg to push yourself back up. Your instinct will be to lean forward over your extended leg – don’t – keep your upper body as straight as you can. This is a fantastic work out for your whole leg as well as your glutes! Don’t forget to repeat on both legs.
10. Lazy Bicep Curls
If you are carrying bags of groceries in to the house, or bags of rubbish out to the bin, use the opportunity to fit in a few bicep curls. Get a good grip on the bag palm facing up and make a fist, keep your elbows at your sides, and lift the bags so your hands reach your chest. This move can even be done with tins of beans, one litre bottles of juice, or anything else that makes a suitable weight, while you’re sitting watching TV!
11. No Time To ‘Waist’
If you are waiting for the kettle to boil, pasta to cook, or the microwave to ding, squeeze in a few squats, lunges, or push-ups off a wall or kitchen counter. If you make a dinner every evening, and a couple of cups of tea a day, the short-duration exercises will soon build up over a week, and after all, every little helps