Busy people may not find time in their schedules to do the recommended 150 to 175 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week. A UK study found that the average British woman spends 143 minutes per week cleaning their house. If you are the main caretaker of your own house or another residence, then you may be able to count regular cleaning and chores as part of your exercise time. Many household chores are considered medium intensity cardiovascular or strength-training exercises. Plan your chores in a way that allows you to do them in succession to increase heart rate and work your major muscle groups. Read more to find out how to exercise while doing your housework.
Indoor Housework Workout
1Set a timer for 30 minutes, the minimum amount of moderate-intensity exercise you should have in a workout session. Constant exercise is the key to turning regular chores into an aerobic exercise that helps your heart and lungs.
Turn on some fast music. Recent studies have shown that loud music with at least 120 beats per minute (BPM) helps to increase the rate at which you exercise. They also can distract you and improve your mood, allowing you to workout for a longer period of time.
- Create a playlist that lasts at least 30 minutes. This can serve as your timer. Playing your favorite songs in succession will also increase the endorphin-boosting power of music. Try dance, Latin, hip hop and fast rock songs. Go to bpmdatabase.com to check if your favorite song has 120 BPM or more .
3Put on flexible clothing and athletic trainers before you workout. Some household chores require good foot cushioning and stability in order to perform them without the risk of injury.
Vacuum your entire house. The forward and back motion of vacuuming is a great workout for your abdominal muscles (abs). Flex your muscles 1 at a time, beginning at your pelvis and moving into your upper abs, and keep them flexed for the entire duration of your vacuuming.
- You burn approximately 190 calories per hour vacuuming. Increase the calories you burn by performing single leg lunges every 2 to 3 minutes. Take a large step forward with your right leg and lunge until your right knee is at a 90 degree angle. Hold the position for 3 to 10 seconds and then step back. Repeat with your left leg.
Sweep and/or mop your floors. Ready the floors so you can do as many surfaces as possible in succession. Flex your ab muscles and squat rather than bend if you need to get into a hard to reach space.
- Mopping burns approximately 195 calories per hour. Make sure you switch arms as you sweep, mop or rake. You should reach and pull back with your right and left sides evenly. Favoring 1 side will create a muscle imbalance and may lead to pain. Get on your hands and knees and scrub intensely. This cleaning exercise works your shoulders and upper arms intensely.
Run or walk up and down your stairs 5 to 10 times. You can do this while tidying different rooms, bringing objects from 1 room to another. You can also do it simply to burn more calories and increase the intensity of your workout.
- You burn approximately 500 calories per hour walking up and down stairs. Increase your strength-training by squatting whenever you pick up objects. Lean slightly back and pick up an object when your arms are close to the floor. Bending over causes intense strain on your lower back. Squatting builds the quadriceps, hamstring and ab muscles, helping you help your back when done repeatedly.
Do calf raises as you hand wash dishes. Start with your legs hip-width apart. Move onto your toes and hold for 3 to 10 seconds, and then slowly come down.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times and do 2 to 3 sets with 1 minute resting between sets.
Squat as you pick up a laundry basket, and then set it on a table or couch near a wall. Lean against the wall with your feet hip-width apart and 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m) away from the wall. Flex your abs, bend your knees and move your back down the wall, squatting as you fold laundry for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Return to the original position, rest for a few seconds and repeat until you are done folding your laundry.
Clean all your windows to work your arms. Use your left and right hands equally as you wipe in a circular motion. Reach up as high as you can to work your abs, glutes and lower back muscles.
- You burn approximately 180 calories per hour cleaning windows. You work approximately the same calories per hour dusting the house, which also works your upper and lower arm muscles.
Outdoor Chores Workout
1Weed or hoe your garden. Make sure to use proper knee cushioning and engage your ab and lower back muscles if you lean forward. This gardening exercise burns approximately 289 calories per hour.
Wash your car by hand. The motions of wetting, scrubbing and rinsing can work your arm, back, and leg muscles. Try to squat every time you wet your chamois or sponge into soapy water, instead of bending over.
- This exercise burns approximately 230 calories per hour.
3Clean your gutters. Flex your ab and gluteal muscles as you stand on the ladder, which will improve your balance. This burns approximately 320 calories per hour.
Paint indoors or outdoors. Use either brushes or rollers and tighten your abs as you reach to get higher places. Before using a ladder, try to reach as high as you can get on the wall, as it strengthens your core muscles.
- Painting burns between 250 and 300 calories per hour if done on large surfaces, like walls.