The job of cleaning house is never finished. It reminds me of a motivational poster I once saw that had a picture of a man running on a road that was disappearing into the far distance ahead of him. The caption read, "There is no finish line." If you have to clean up after kids, pets, or a messy roommate, you can probably relate.|
Because cleaning is a never-ending job, why not make the most of it ? Turn cleaning into a workout! Because a lack of time is the main reason we skip workouts, this can be just what you need to make it all fit in. A 2005 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that Brits burn more than 50,000 calories a year—nearly 15 pounds of fat—just by cleaning their homes. Let me in on that action!
Like any physical activity, housework can burn calories and tone muscles if you do it correctly. You don’t have to make it to the gym to check a workout off your to-do list. Doctors and fitness professionals now believe that short bouts of relatively mild exercise can help improve your fitness level—especially for those who do little to no physical activity or are just getting started. Now, don’t expect to look like a supermodel or an all-star athlete when you take off your apron and dishwashing gloves, but 30 minutes a day of moderate activity can bring some legitimate health benefits.
The first thing to remember is that if you are going to count this as exercise you have to do more than just stroll around and flip the feather duster a little here and a little there. Try to accumulate at least 10 minutes straight to count it as exercise—and really work it! Make a conscious effort to pick up the pace and move continuously. For the greatest fitness benefit, try to accumulate more steps and movement by leaving all the cleaning supplies in the cabinet and making extra trips up and down the stairs, for example. If you have to make an extra trip to the other room to get the dustpan for the broom, that’s what adds up.
Here are some tips to help transform your daily housework into a daily workout:
The number of calories you burn during housework depends on several different factors (your current fitness level, your weight, gender, and how hard you're working). Most general estimates say that a 150-pound person will burn approximately 250 calories for an hour of general cleaning, which is higher than the calorie burn of a leisurely two-mile walk. Remember that every little bit of activity helps, so make the most of your time and you'll end up with more than just the satisfaction of a clean house. You'll also have a healthier body!