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Healthy housework

Looking after your home demands time and energy and requires constant attention. Juggling this with work, errands, and family can be a challenge. Despite the genuine difficulty some people have finding time, in particular caregivers, there are ways of fitting exercise in. Here are some tips on how to workout without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Make cleaning count

As people who clean know, the routine of mopping, scrubbing, wiping, and other housework is physical if done properly. If you don’t do so already, try working to music. A good soundtrack will put a little extra zing into your cleaning routine, making time pass more quickly and agreeably.

Step it up on your stairs

Stairs don’t just have to be for walking up and down. They can also double as a piece of ready-made fitness apparatus. By using your imagination and varying things a bit, there are some exercises you can do on the stairs. For example, stretch your legs by walking two steps at a time or do easier push-ups at a 45° angle. Work your triceps by sitting on the stairs and lifting your body up with your arms. It’s probably best not to do speed drills, though; how often have you heard parents telling their children not to run on the stairs. Likewise, in case you slip, it’s probably better to exercise at the base of the stairs rather than halfway up or at the top.

Clothes and shape

A full laundry basket is heavy and lifting laundry can be tough. Tone your arms by holding a basket (how full depends on you) at a 90° angle for a couple of seconds. Do this a couple of times and you’ll soon start to feel a burning sensation in your arm muscles. While you fold clothes, work on your balance by standing first on one leg and then on the other for a few seconds, and repeat a few times.

Making pauses pay

Do you have to sit down for your whole break? Why not work out your leg muscles by leaning with your back against a wall. When you start, bend your knees a little when holding a wall squat (with your back straight against the wall). As you progress and become accustomed to this exercise, bend your knees more and more until they reach an angle of 90°. You’ll feel your thigh muscles burning when you’ve held this position for a few seconds. Relax by standing, and repeat a few times. You’ll feel you deserve a proper sit down after a few of these wall squats, and you do!

Vacuuming and lunges 

The activity of vacuuming lends itself to stretching, in particular split lunges. As you vacuum, why not try a few of these leg stretches? With one leg forward (slightly bent with foot flat on the floor) and one leg back (straight with heel of the foot lifted) lower your body down by bending your knees. Keeping your upper body position upright with a straight back, you should feel the knee of the back leg touch the floor. The forward knee should be at an angle of 90°. Return to your original position and repeat a few times, then switch position: forward leg back and vice versa. Lunges work the thigh and gluteus muscles.