How to get a workout while spring cleaning
We all know we should make it along to the gym more often than we do, but there are only so many hours in a day!
The good news is that you can turn your home into a gym during your spring clean and kill two very satisfying birds in with one stone. The NHS recommends 150 minutes of brisk activity a week to stay healthy, so a solid couple of hours’ cleaning will have you well on your way there. And a more extensive session, such as spring cleaning, is ideal for working up a sweat.
While you certainly don’t need to wear the latest high tech workout gear, it’s a good idea to put on some comfortable clothes that allow you to stretch easily (and you won’t overheat in!) and a pair of trainers.
Cleaning by zone – or task?
One mistake that we all often make is working zone by zone, cleaning each room completely one at a time. Not only is this not the most efficient way to clean, we miss a great opportunity to get in those 10,000 steps a day! By tackling the job task by task rather than room by room – i.e. dusting the whole house, then polishing, then doing all the floors or carpets – you’ll rack up those steps in no time. To really reap the benefits, you want to hit at least a moderate level of intensity (when you can feel your heart rate is elevated and you might be slightly breathless but could still hold a conversation) so consider challenging yourself by sticking a timer on and racing the clock!
Go hard or go home
An easy way to increase the intensity of everyday cleaning activities is simply to exaggerate the movement so you challenge your muscles a little bit more. When vacuuming, take giant steps that force you to engage your core muscles to keep your balance – or even lunge if you are able. When cleaning the windows, crouch right down to get the low bits then right to your tiptoes to get a full body stretch. Keep your feet still while dusting a bookcase and challenge yourself to reach every corner simply by stretching. Of course if anybody catches you bending into weird and wonderful positions you might have some explaining to do!
A good spring clean often involves carrying heavy items from room to room, which is fantastic load-bearing exercise. A laundry basket full of sheets or a box of miscellaneous items to be returned to their proper place can be held at a 90 degree angle for a great arm workout. You can really get your heart rate going by squatting every few steps, and you can also incorporate squats instead of bending down to put things away in low cupboards or shelves. This has the added bonus of being better for your back!
Rhythms gonna get you
Of course the most fun way to burn off extra calories while getting your chores out the way is simply to dance as you go. Stick on your favourite party music and decide that every chorus is a dance break. It might take you a little longer to blitz the house that way, but a dance break is always worth the extra time!