As the weather turns colder, many of us are looking for ways to exercise indoors. Not only does staying fit over the winter help prevent holiday weight gain, but research also shows that maintaining a regular exercise schedule combats depression and anxiety – making it a perfect cure for the “winter blues.” Fortunately, you don’t need a gym membership to keep up with this healthy habit during the cooler months: Routine household chores can provide a practical, accessible way to burn calories and build muscle tone.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best chores for staying fit and give you tips to maximize the workout potential of cleaning. Or, if you’ve already made your workout plans for the winter, our professional maids in Milwaukee can clean your home for you.
The 6 Top House Cleaning Tasks to Burn Calories
If you’ve ever paused to catch your breath while lugging a heavy vacuum cleaner around the house, you know this chore is hard work – and that’s excellent news for your overall fitness. If you live in a large home, vacuuming may be all you need to do to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Better still, vacuuming is a true full-body workout because it requires the use of your legs, arms, and torso. It also burns an amazing 187 calories per half hour, which is roughly the same as a 15-minute kickboxing or interval training session.
While most experts recommend vacuuming about three times per week, there’s no harm in vacuuming every day if you want to burn extra calories. Vacuuming removes allergens and other harmful particles from indoor air, so daily vacuuming is a smart choice for allergy and asthma sufferers. Vacuuming frequently won’t damage your floors or carpets, either – It will actually extend the lifespan of these surfaces by removing small, sharp dirt particles before they can cause damage.
- Sweeping and mopping.
Think of sweeping and mopping as the lightweight versions of vacuuming: Like vacuuming, these chores tone both the upper and lower body, and while they’re not as strenuous as pushing an upright vacuum, they still burn off about 140 calories per half-hour. At the same time, sweeping and mopping pose a much lower risk of muscle strain and back injury, making them ideal chores for elderly people and those with limited fitness.
- Scrubbing the bathtub.
Scrubbing the bathtub is typically a quick job, especially if you clean your bathroom every week. It may therefore surprise you to learn that within just 15 minutes, this task can burn 90 calories thanks to the vigorous arm workout involved.
When you add the extra exercise of scrubbing shower tile (and grout), the toilet, and your bathroom floor and counter tops, you can burn 300 calories an hour just deep-cleaning your bathroom – That’s the equivalent of running several miles!
- Getting rid of clutter.
Removing clutter is the first step in creating a manageable home: Decluttering removes obstacles that would otherwise obstruct cleaning and eliminates places where dust and allergens can hide. It’s also a great workout: Depending on the weight of the objects you’re moving, you can burn between 85-150 calories just packing up unused items for donation or storage.
- Doing the laundry.
According to a survey, laundry ranks high on the list of most-hated household chores: Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said that laundry is their most time-consuming and tedious weekly task.
If the monotony of sorting, carrying, washing, ironing, and folding clothes is starting to wear on you, take heart in knowing that you’re burning 152 calories an hour while doing so. Furthermore, if you have a large family, just doing the laundry regularly will challenge you to lift 70-100 pounds of clothing per week. This will strengthen your biceps, abs, and thighs while burning off approximately 700 calories each week.
- Washing dishes by hand.
Skipping the dishwasher is beneficial in multiple ways: Hand-washing dishes uses less water, preserves painted patterns on dishes, and conserves electricity. It also burns 50 calories for every half-hour of washing and drying, adding up to an extra 350 calories burned each week.
Three Ways to Make the Most of Cleaning for Exercise
- Learn the best housecleaning techniques.
Cleaning improperly can lead to repetitive strain injuries, in addition to making your home a less hygienic place. If you’re new to house cleaning, check out our complete beginner’s guide to cleaning to learn what kind of tools and techniques you should use to keep each area of your home sparkling.
- Set a timer.
While slow, deliberate movements work to build muscle, intense workouts are much better at burning calories and improving cardiovascular fitness. Once you’ve mastered basic cleaning methods, try setting a timer for each room to encourage yourself to clean more quickly. Just make sure you don’t end up cutting corners or risking injury – Leave yourself at least 15 minutes per room until you get comfortable with speed cleaning.
- Turn up the tunes.
There’s a reason so many people play their favorite songs while they work out: Listening to music helps us move more rhythmically and efficiently while simultaneously reducing feelings of fatigue. Cycling between different playlists can also add some variety to routine chores and make them seem less monotonous.
Though cleaning is a great way to burn calories, it’s important to remember that exercise has to be enjoyable if you’re going to stick with it. If you’d rather run or lift weights than scrub toilets, don’t hold yourself back by relying on house cleaning as your main source of physical activity. Get a gym membership or home exercise equipment instead, and ask the professionals at BetterCleans to keep your home spotless for you. Working with our courteous, affordable maids in Milwaukee will create more time for exercise, relaxation, and everything else the holiday season has to offer. Why not spend the morning taking a break in Webster Park instead?