Turning Your Chores Into a Workout

Next time your obnoxious neighbor brags about his heavy workout routine, imagine staring him in the eye and saying: “That’s nothing compared to vacuuming the house.”

Welcome to the idea of using household chores as a way to exercise. Of course, maybe you won’t really be able to one-up your neighbor but there are chores that you can do around the house and in the garden which will help boost your activity during the day.

Before you start, you might want to check out the “Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide”1. It’s a 12-page list that compares the metabolic equals of almost every kind of activity you can imagine, from slow ballroom dancing to fishing. (Yes, you do burn a minnow’s amount of energy sitting there with your fishing pole!) If that’s way more information than you’re looking for, here are some ideas to get you started burning some calories around the house. Put on some high-energy music and keep in mind that what’s important is the spirit of how you do some of these chores.

Washing the car – Skip the car wash and save some money. This is a chore that can be done slowly but still provide benefits. The important thing is to keep moving while you’re doing it. Remember: wax on, wax off!

Cleaning the bathroom or kitchen – OK, it’s not the same as going to a fancy gym. Think of the elbow grease you use scrubbing the kitchen floor as a substitute for lifting weights. Maybe throw in a bear crawl as you move across the floor.

Vacuuming the house – if you’re just slowly dragging then vacuum cleaner around then you’re missing a great opportunity. Add a few lunges and dance moves while getting the dust up. Or, if you’re willing to be a little silly, try standing on one leg!

Gardening – Working in the garden is probably one of the best activities you can do around the house. Both digging and weeding exercise the legs, while carrying around bags of dirt gives you some arm strength. Depending on how long you work, there’s also some heart benefits; and, let’s not forget the benefits of fresh air. So, breathe deep, aaaaand- get squatting!

Remember: almost any household chore can be turned into a form of exercise. Just don’t practice your Zumba moves while you’re on the step ladder! 

Most recent update: 10/9/2017

  1. http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf. Accessed 5/8/2017
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