Posted on 13th September, 2011


Do you ever find yourself saying, “I haven’t got time to get out and exercise” or “I’m too busy to go to the gym”? With today’s increasingly pressured lifestyle, many people are having to scale down their fitness routine or squeeze short exercise sessions into coffee breaks, but you can use domestic cleaning and household chores to give yourself a good physical workout at home – and the best part is, you don’t have to use up your valuable free time to do it!


While cleaning your home is no substitute for a full exercise regime, it can be a fantastic way to help burn off those calories if you do it in a vigorous way. Before you embark on this or any other exercise regime, however, be sure to consult a suitably qualified medical professional if you are over 40 or pregnant, if you have an existing medical condition or are convalescing, or if you have any doubts about your physical fitness for any reason. Also be sure to drink plenty of water during your cleaning session to help keep you hydrated and feeling good.


To begin, first put on some clean indoor shoes with light-coloured rubber/non-slip soles. These will not only help protect your floors and keep them clean, they will also prevent you from slipping on any wet floors. You’ll also find a couple of pairs of household gloves useful – rubber or latex are ideal. You’ll need to keep one pair separate for bathroom cleaning in order to protect the rest of your home from cross-contamination from germs, and the other pair can be used to clean the other areas of your home. You will also find an apron will help to keep your clothes clean and free from damage.


Put on some fast, uplifting music that makes you want to dance. This will help you feel energized. When you feel your toes starting to tap, start walking around your home as vigorously as you can, tidying things up as you walk. Exaggerate your movements, and if you have stairs in your home, even better! These are a great way to get the circulation going. The aim is to get nicely warmed up. While you are tidying, avoid gathering everything up at once – instead fetch one thing at a time, and then go back for something else. This will help squeeze more journeys into your cleaning session. When you’ve done all the tidying, you can use the same method to collect together your cleaning materials, walking back, to and fro, to collect each item.


Now for some stretches. Grab a feather duster and stretch up high to clear any cobwebs from the ceiling, or dust from a picture rail. Don’t just stretch above your head – try to create long stretches to either side of your body as you stretch up and to the side to dust the tops of books on shelves, or along stairwells or window ledges. Gradually work from the top downwards. If you have time, use the feather duster over the walls, door frames and mouldings, switching hands from time to time to give both arms a workout, and remember to reach and stretch as much as you can. When twisting, don’t jerk – just twist smoothly from the waist, keep your shoulder blades down, and keep your head and spine in alignment.


Are some areas really high? Time for the stepladder. Climbing up and down a stepladder is a great way to add in some step aerobics, which will help tone your legs and increase your stamina.


Now for the cleaning and dusting. Aim for wide, vigorous arm movements as much as possible (taking care around any fragile objects, of course). You can get particularly wide, vigorous movements going when you are cleaning windows, for example.


Need to dust a high piece of furniture? Do a series of ankle raises for maximum effect: simply keep your feet together and your legs straight – the movement comes from raising and lowering your heels – up, down, up down –with the weight of your body concentrated on the balls of your feet, until you can really feel the workout in your ankles and legs.


Do you have any wood furniture to clean? Sprays are quick and easy to use, but a more traditional tin of wax will get you rubbing and buffing much harder and will give your furniture an absolutely beautiful shine.













When you get down to floor level, don’t bend or lean, do a series of squats instead. Keep your spine straight, pull in your abdominal muscles to protect your back, and bend at the knees. Use this method when cleaning your toilet too. 


Floors need mopping? Vacuum them first otherwise the mop will simply disperse bits and pieces around the floor. Vacuuming before mopping will also enable you to get a double workout from each floor. Remember to pull in your abdominal muscles and squat when you use the nozzle attachment around the floor edges and skirtings. Keep your back straight, never simply bend over or you could hurt your back.


After you’ve gone round the edges, why not practise some lunges to vacuum and mop the main area of each floor? Keep your toes pointing forward, and your knees directly over your toes, don’t allow the legs or knees to twist. And when you bend the leg in front at the knee, keep the bent leg at a right angle to avoid injury and to work the thigh as much as possible.


When you’ve done enough lunges on each leg, vary the exercise by walking around while you vacuum and mop. To do this properly, don’t simply stay in one place and use your arms to pull and push the vacuum cleaner or mop, instead use your legs and walk around as you clean. This enables the legs to do the work and will help to keep any strain away from your back.
















When picking up heavy items, such as full baskets of laundry, remember that the same method for protecting your back applies: always bend at the knees, and pull in your abdominal muscles. Keep your back straight, and breathe normally.


So how many calories can you expect to burn off from all this cleaning? Here is a rough guide, based on 10 minutes for each activity, but do bear in mind that these figures can vary widely depending on your age, weight and physical fitness:


Dusting: 29

Vacuuming: 41

Mopping floors: 33

General cleaning: 42

Cleaning windows: 30

Laundry: 45

Making beds: 24

Changing linen: 57

Ironing: 19

Carrying out the rubbish/trash: 57

Walking (moderate pace): 48

Walking up and down stairs: 87


Other household chores (in case this inspires you to do more!):


Cooking: 31

Gardening (weeding): 48

Gardening (trimming shrubs): 53

Washing the car: 39


To put the above figures in perspective, cleaning and vacuuming a small 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment for a couple of hours can burn off around 500 calories. No wonder so many of our cleaners lose weight and tone up fabulously after a few weeks or months of working for our clients!


Why not try this for yourself? It’s a great way to multitask, because you will not only give yourself an invigorating workout, you’ll have a beautifully clean home too.




This article was written by Lorraine Turner for Adore Cleaning.   As Featured On EzineArticles

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