Drop The Guilt! How To Combine Exercising And House Cleaning

According to the American Heart Association, “Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s  No. 1 and  No. 5 killers.”


Okay! But you’re busy!  How do you find time to get out of the house for regular exercise? You may or may not have that luxury depending on different factors like the thickness of your wallet and the age of your kids. So how much exercise do you need?


The AHA suggests, “At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). For people who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, we recommend 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk [of] heart attack and stroke.”


Alright. That seems like a lot! But if broken down, they assure us that 30-minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal. They also say you can still benefit from dividing that time into two or three segments of 10-15 minutes per day. That’s not so bad.


But what constitutes exercise? The AHA says that physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burns calories.


So the good news is, you don’t have to choose between cleaning and exercising if you modify them into one. You can at least get started at home, burn some calories, improve your overall fitness level, drop the guilt, and get a cleaner home out of it! Heck, get the whole family involved if you have young ones to teach the value of exercise and keeping up with the chores to.


TO NOTE: If you have a very low fitness level, chronic health condition(s), disability, etc – don’t let that stop you! Modify and do what’s right for YOUR body! We’ve included exercises that are aerobic, as well as more static ones.


So now it’s time to pump up your cleaning chores, pick up the pace, and count regular housework as part of your exercise routine.


Just Want To Throw In Some Extra Stretches?

Whether you can’t exercise briskly, or you just want to keep throwing in some extra stretches while you’re doing more stagnant housework, check out these ideas!


You can do all kinds of little hacks and tweaks to your every day and cleaning routines around the house to fit in more stretches, muscle-building, and calorie burning. Don’t limit yourself to what we list here! Be creative, or get online and find some more ideas.


But either way, just do it! And if you can, use ankle and wrist weights strapped on during any activities around the house to create some resistance and add to your strengthening.


— Sweep more often or with a wider, bent-knee stance and swinging arm motions.

— Throw in a few lunges or squats instead of bending when picking things up off the floor, and dance steps when you definitely didn’t have to are great too.

— Raise your arms up high in between sweeps with your duster!

— If you have steps, take them two at a time on the way up and/or do a few extra ups and downs when you didn’t need to. It will take only seconds but help your fitness goals!

— When cleaning the windows, doing laundry, scrubbing the tub, dusting, and more, try to use larger arm motions and more elbow grease than necessary to increase your calorie burning and muscle work-out.

— And when carrying laundry, use a smaller basket and integrate it into squats and lifts. Be careful not to hurt your back!


Try stretching your leg muscles and then doing “calf raises” as you make dinner, hand wash dishes or fill the dishwasher, laundry machine, and dryer. Moving your legs to hip-width apart as you stand, you can then rise up on the balls of your feet and even onto your toes if it’s possible. You’ll hold yourself there for approximately 3-10 seconds, slowly coming down, then repeat 10 times. This is called a “set” and you should allow your legs to rest for 1-2 minutes in between sets.


Are You Looking To Feel The Burn?

Then your goal is cardiovascular (heart and lungs) improvement through a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or as close to that as you can get. You want to keep your heart rate up around 120 beats per minute, so keep moving briskly the entire time, even if you have to throw in a few extra dance steps.


Ready, Set, Go!

When you clean, dance like nobody’s watching, because they aren’t, and your goal is exercise and housekeeping, not looking cool. So get goofy. You can throw in some pretty incredible body moves if you just let your inhibitions go!


— Grab good workout shoes, a water bottle, and comfortable clothes. Seriously, you should treat your body well.

— Turn on some music you love that’s also fast-paced to keep you distracted, motivated, and energized. Feel free to shout-sing along! Your neighbors won’t mind, right?

— Do you have a Fitbit? Use it to track your progress!

— Do you have ankle and wrist weights? Strap them on!

— Either create a music playlist that lasts as long as you’re supposed to, or set a timer.

— Switch arms so you’re working out with both instead of the usual favoring of one side.

— Really use and stretch those muscles during every single activity.


Go For The Goal, Don’t Stop

Try to plan out in advance so you know where to go and what to do next, all of your supplies are where they need to be, etc. Remember, your goal is to keep your heart rate about 120 BPM, so you’ll want to start your timer or music playlist and try not to stop until it dings or ends.


Try some of these in your 30-minute aerobic cleaning routine to get your heart pumping:


— In between cleaning activities or during a slower period, throw in stationary lunges or walking lunges, twirls, squats, dance moves, etc.

— Sweep, mop, and/or vacuum the entire house and throw in those lunges and squats!

— Try to work in extra, brisk steps across your home. Instead of going from one room to the closest room, switch sides of your home, moving quickly.

— Take the stairs quickly and often.

— If you’re making the beds, purposely move from one side to the other quickly, not slowing down, even if it doesn’t make as much sense for the actual bed-making, just double back because it’s extra work.

— If you want to give it a try outdoors, go clean your car by hand! Really work your arms, legs, back, and abdomen with the scrubbing, and do squats when you wet your sponge in the bucket.



There are so many more ideas! We might blog about this again sometime. Good luck and may the cleaning force be with your calorie burning goals!