Fitness Any Way You Can

I’m usually able to get my workouts in without too much effort, but this is turning out to be one of those weeks. Still, I’m not sitting on my butt–well, okay, I’m sitting on my butt right now, but I haven’t been sitting around all the time. You know what I mean.

In addition to some contract work and family time over the past few days, I’ve also been making strides in Spring cleaning tasks. Somewhere along the way, I figured out that I wasn’t going to make it to the gym so I got creative and added in some of my gym work to my cleaning tasks. I have to say that it makes both housecleaning and exercise a lot of fun.

I’m happy to report that, among other accomplishments, I can deadlift a 27-inch tube television and do a half-dozen bicep curls with it while carrying it down the hallway into the den. (I’ll have to repeat this to get it outside for an upcoming garage sale, which should be fun since I’ll have to also open a door and negotiate two steps.)

If you don’t happen to have a 27-inch television that needs moving, Sparkpeople has an article with great suggestions for ramping up your household chores to incorporate even more exercise into them:

Lunge. When you vacuum, perform some walking lunges. Remember to keep your knees directly above your ankles, your back straight and your abs engaged. You will know this is working by feeling it in your thighs and glutes.
Go big. Instead of making small circles when scrubbing the shower or cleaning windows, make long, sweeping movements. For example, when you are cleaning the shower door, take long swipes from top to bottom, squatting (not bending!) to reach the lower spots. This will give you a hearty shoulder workout and engage your entire lower body.
Clean to the beat! Turn on the radio or your iPod while you clean. Feel the beat and dance around a bit. Make sure to use some fast music so you’ll be encouraged to pick up your speed and break a sweat.
Step it up. Use a stepladder or step stool when you need to reach high areas. You can simulate your own step aerobics class this way!
Twist and shout. When you are loading or unloading your dishwasher or dryer, add a twist-and-reach move. This movement will serve to strengthen your core and target that “love handle” area around the obliques.
Take a swing. Instead of vacuuming your rugs, take them outside, hang them up, pick up your broom and swing away to beat out dust and dirt. This will involve more muscles than vacuuming alone and help you get some fresh air.
Take the stairs. Instead of making one trip up and down, make multiple trips with the clean or dirty clothes. Remember, the goal here to make more work for yourself, not less.

I much prefer my “official workouts”, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Yes, it bugs me, but as long as exercise happens, I’ll survive. And if my streak continues, I’ll have a clean(er) house and a freshly-mown lawn.

Feel free to share the ways you combine exercise with your household obligations. (My current favorite is the side-lunge-from-dishwasher-calf-raise-to-cabinet combo move, one dish at a time.)

15 thoughts on “Fitness Any Way You Can

  1. My house is an old Cape Cod style with lots and lots of LARGE windows. On days I don’t get out to do my regular walking, I sometimes run in place in front of those windows. Gets the job done and feels like I’m outside. Probably looks pretty odd if passers-by happen to notice!!

  2. I spend much of the day commuting on a train. If you put your headphones on and dance in place to the music, not only will you get a workout while commuting, often you’ll find people backing away and giving you lots of room. :)

  3. This is a great post that we can incorporate exercise with everything that we do especially household chores! I’m excited that I get to focus now on getting back to being healthy, I’m at my heaviest which isn’t a great feeling, but I’m looking forward to getting fit!

  4. Have I not told you about my dance partner Miguel? Aka my vacuum cleaner! Lots of good sweaty dancing!! :) I also like to march in place while I fold clothes. Parking far away from buildings gets in a few extra steps and I NEVER use the elevator or escalators.

  5. I once read that teeth brushing is a good time for squats and/or calf raises. I never remember to do that though:)

  6. Great tips!! A take-off on one of them (the rugs) is that my husband and I will take blankets and quilts outside, each take and end, and we shake the dust out. I’ve seen people in gyms doing this with ropes. Same deal, same benefit :-)

    With small rugs, I take them outside and beat them against the side of our (brick) house.

  7. Squats while cooking or heating something in the microwave. Stretches when I am on the phone. Little things do add up fast.

  8. I count housework as a work out! I am usually breaking a sweat by the end of 3-4 hours of cleaning.

    It all adds up!

  9. I also do similar things when I can’t exercise. The tv one, now that might be challenging for a klutz like me…ha. I can tell you though that I get a very good workout when I help my husband with his projects. Pushing a wheel barrel that is full of boards, up a slight hill, really makes things burn and feels great! Any form of exercise while trying to lose weight is better than doing nothing at all!

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