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I hate to admit it but the only exercise I have done lately is when I am running late! Let’s face it, our lives are busy. They are consumed with a variety of places we need to be and errands we need to do. By the time we have a spare moment to ourselves, we are faced with the decision of whether to clean our messy homes or start that new exercise routine we swore we were going to accomplish sometime soon. And no matter which we decide to devote our time to, we feel guilty about not doing the other.

I say, put an end to our inner guilt and combine exercising with housecleaning! After all, short bouts of exercise can improve our fitness. All we need to do is work at a brisk pace when cleaning our homes so we can burn lots of calories.

Just crank up your favorite music, tie those tennis shoes, get out those cleaning supplies and follow these great tips:

  1.  Combine lunges with vacuuming. Lunge forward to work your hips, thighs, and buttocks. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees at 90 degrees. Don’t let your knees go out farther than your toes. Alternate your legs. Switch hands every five strokes.
  2. Laundry squats and lifts. When carrying the laundry basket, tone your arms by keeping them raised at a 90° angle as you carry the laundry basket. Work your legs with squats and lunges as you fold. When you are sorting the laundry basket out, hold a squat as you do it.
  3. Squats and lifts can also be done when dusting the sides of the door frames. When ironing, keep the laundry basket on the floor rather than on a raised surface. This way you have to bend and stretch to reach the clothes.
  4. Work shoulders and arms when washing windows, showers, scrubbing floors and mopping floors. Dust furniture in a circular motion. Use a little more force when scrubbing or wiping to increase calorie burning. For a more intense workout, scrub your floors instead of mopping them. This is great for your core muscles! As you wash the floor on your knees, hold the cloth with both hands and push your arms out in front of you. Contract your abdomen muscles each time you lean forward. As you move straight forward, lean side to side. Lunges can also be done when mopping, just be careful not to slip.
  5. Worktop press ups/knee ups. While you are waiting for the kettle to boil, do standing press ups by leaning on the edge of your countertop. Before you begin, make sure the counter is dry so you do not slip. If you have time left then also try some knee ups by using the corner of the worktop.

Other things to consider:

  • Don’t let things pile up at the bottom of the stairs. Take each item upstairs as soon as you need to. Use ankle and wrist weights while cleaning to challenge your muscles more.
  • Sometimes fast music can increase intensity.
  • Set a limit to do chores (an average time is 30 minutes).
  • Pick things up by squatting.
  • Stretch!
  • Peeling, chopping, stirring, whisking and beating all burn more calories than heating up leftovers in a microwave oven.
  • In the outdoors, gardening, weeding, digging, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and sweeping are also great muscle toners and calorie burners.
  • Squat while snacking. “Your buns will burn and binging will be swept aside,”
  •  Do squats while washing your hands. The more you do this, the more it’s likely to turn into a habit.

Polishing, dusting, mopping and sweeping are great for keeping arms shapely. Bending and stretching, while making the bed, washing windows or doing laundry, are good for toning thighs and improving flexibility. Also running up and down the stairs constantly as you tidy is a good aerobic workout.

Housework is a great way to burn calories. But as is the case with any workout, the more effort you put in, the greater the benefit. Always check with your doctor first before performing any physical activities.