Exercise routine using chores. Eg. Cleaning the shower is squats
December 19, 2017 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Can you think of any ways to integrate exercise and physical chores? I find it easier to exercise with a goal in mind, and I don't want to pay for the gym. What I have so far: - Cleaning the shower walls and floor feels like the equivalent of squats. - Sweeping under furniture is stretching. - Hanging clothes is stretching and lifting.
posted by A4 to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you think you might enjoy woodworking, then ripping boards into narrower pieces with a hand saw is a pretty good arm/cardio workout.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:53 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Clean alllll the windows, inside and out, with a squeegee. Not sure what it ‘counts’ as, but it works up a sweat.
posted by Salamander at 8:54 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I cleaned my gutters this weekend, which involved climbing up a ladder, scooping all the leaves out of a section of the gutter, climbing back down, moving the ladder, and then starting all over again. My glutes were definitely a bit sore the next day. I don’t plan to repeat that often enough to achieve real results, but I guess that anything that requires multiple trips up and down a ladder would do. Maybe dusting ceiling fans or high shelves?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:02 PM on December 19, 2017

Best answer: I fold laundry on our (low, platform) bed and do 1 squat with every piece of folded laundry sometimes. It‘s shockingly effective. Also: walk to store, carry home groceries. Rake leaves. Push lawnmower.
posted by The Toad at 9:03 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do lunges while vacuuming and sweeping. When carrying anything (grocery bags, laundry, big pasta pots), raise and lower the object as you go. (Have a few empty baskets around, so when you're de-cluttering a room you'll have several items corralled for this weightlifting.) Stand up straight and raise one foot off the floor while washing dishes or brushing your teeth to improve balance and strengthen your stomach and back muscles. Plié or squat while loading and emptying the dishwasher or laundry machines, or while folding clothes.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:27 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not chore-related, but a household exercise habit: I try to remember to squat instead of bending over to open low drawers and cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom. Since I was the most recent person to move in, all my shelves are the worst ones, close to the floor; it means I'm squatting at least a couple of times a day!

I once went to a physiotherapist who said she did a set of heel raises every night when she took the family rubbish bag out to the bin. Nothing to do with the rubbish, but it served as a daily trigger at a moment she had to herself near a set of steps.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 9:45 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If "looking after small children" counts as physical chores, then they can be used as weights in a variety of exercises and they can be persuaded that this is a fun game.

Hold a toddler by the ankles, with your arms up over your head, and then slowly raise and lower the toddler behind your back, for a great tricep exercise that gets more challenging with time as the child gets larger.
posted by quacks like a duck at 11:52 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Gardening will provide an endless number of different ways to exercise.

Building your own decorative raised beds out of rocks will provide many opportunities for lifting rocks, shoveling dirt, etc. For a better workout, skip the wheelbarrow and use 5 gallon buckets.
posted by yohko at 12:02 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Moving furniture so you can clean behind and under it is weight lifting.

Sweeping, raking, shoveling are aerobic. Why would you buy a blower and then pay to drive to a gym?

Cleaning a bathtub, or handwashing a large item in the tub, builds your core (be careful with this one if you're not used to it).
posted by amtho at 12:37 AM on December 20, 2017

Best answer: Yep, even if you don’t want to ‘garden’ but you have a yard, do manual raking and get a push-reel mower. Both are great core workouts. Weed pulling really works the forearms.

Not a chore but an around-the-house exercise: do a few door pushups or arm stretches every time you go through a door.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:03 AM on December 20, 2017

Best answer: I notice that my abs engage, sometimes majorly, when I stand in place and lean forward to wash dishes or fuss with laundry in our top-loading washing machine. When the burn gets to be too much, I take a break for a back bend. Feels good.

Also, vigorous floor-sweeping is an opportunity to engage your core while getting some upper-body movement. Same with mopping, vacuuming, and raking leaves/shoveling snow.

These ankle weights are fun to strap on while you clean. If you're standing in place for a few minutes, such as while washing dishes, that's an opportunity to lift your legs behind you in reps/pulses. Any of these movements could be incorporated into chores.
posted by witchen at 7:31 AM on December 20, 2017

Best answer: Maid Brigade lists the 5 best ways to exercise while cleaning your home:
  1. Combine lunges with vacuuming
  2. Laundry squats and lifts
  3. Squats and lifts can also be done when dusting the sides of the door frames
  4. Work shoulders and arms when washing windows, showers, scrubbing floors and mopping floors
  5. Worktop press ups/knee ups. While you are waiting for the kettle to boil, do standing press ups by leaning on the edge of your countertop
And additional ideas:
  • Don’t let things pile up at the bottom of the stairs. Take each item upstairs as soon as you need to. Use ankle and wrist weights while cleaning to challenge your muscles more.
  • Sometimes fast music can increase intensity.
  • Set a limit to do chores (an average time is 30 minutes).
  • Pick things up by squatting.
  • Stretch!
  • Peeling, chopping, stirring, whisking and beating all burn more calories than heating up leftovers in a microwave oven.
  • In the outdoors, gardening, weeding, digging, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and sweeping are also great muscle toners and calorie burners.
  • Squat while snacking. “Your buns will burn and binging will be swept aside,”
  • Do squats while washing your hands. The more you do this, the more it’s likely to turn into a habit.
There's some overlap (and some less frequently useful suggestions) in the WikiHow.fitness list of ways to exercise while doing chores inside and out:
  1. Set a timer for 30 minutes, the minimum amount of moderate-intensity exercise you should have in a workout session
  2. Turn on some fast music. Recent studies have shown that loud music with at least 120 beats per minute (BPM) helps to increase the rate at which you exercise.
  3. Put on flexible clothing and athletic trainers before you workout.
  4. Vacuum your entire house. The forward and back motion of vacuuming is a great workout for your abdominal muscles (abs). Flex your muscles 1 at a time, beginning at your pelvis and moving into your upper abs, and keep them flexed for the entire duration of your vacuuming.
  5. Sweep and/or mop your floors. Ready the floors so you can do as many surfaces as possible in succession. Flex your ab muscles and squat rather than bend if you need to get into a hard to reach space.
  6. Run or walk up and down your stairs 5 to 10 times. You can do this while tidying different rooms, bringing objects from 1 room to another.
  7. Do calf raises as you hand wash dishes. Start with your legs hip-width apart. Move onto your toes and hold for 3 to 10 seconds, and then slowly come down.
  8. Squat as you pick up a laundry basket, and then set it on a table or couch near a wall. Lean against the wall with your feet hip-width apart and 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m) away from the wall. Flex your abs, bend your knees and move your back down the wall, squatting as you fold laundry for 10 to 30 seconds.
  9. Clean all your windows to work your arms. Use your left and right hands equally as you wipe in a circular motion. Reach up as high as you can to work your abs, glutes and lower back muscles.
  10. Weed or hoe your garden. Make sure to use proper knee cushioning and engage your ab and lower back muscles if you lean forward.
  11. Wash your car by hand. The motions of wetting, scrubbing and rinsing can work your arm, back, and leg muscles. Try to squat every time you wet your chamois or sponge into soapy water, instead of bending over.
  12. Clean your gutters. Flex your ab and gluteal muscles as you stand on the ladder, which will improve your balance.
  13. Paint indoors or outdoors. Use either brushes or rollers and tighten your abs as you reach to get higher places. Before using a ladder, try to reach as high as you can get on the wall, as it strengthens your core muscles.

posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

You ever beat bread dough by hand? That's an arm workout and a freakin half.
posted by kapers at 12:18 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

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