Sweating the House Work(out)

Saturday, June 04, 2011 | 0 comments »

By Mark Nelson

Being a domestic god or goddess isn't easy. You want windows that let all the sun in. Floors that gleam. Toilets that sparkle. But you still want to stay in bathing-suit shape for those days by the pool on Mount Olympus.

So what do you do? Try the Housework Workout.

A recent British study revealed that the average Brit burned over 50,000 calories a year doing housework. That's equal to burning almost 15 pounds of fat.

Now, I'm not saying that housework should replace workouts. But if you take the right approach to keeping your house clean, you can really burn fat and tone muscle. And who doesn't want to do that?

So how do you start firming and cleaning? Before you work out, be sure to warm up to keep from pulling a muscle. Turn on some lively music to help you keep an upbeat pace. Take deep breaths to stay energized. And have your cleaning supplies ready to go.

The Housework Workout includes eight exercises that will help you get in shape from head to toe, while making your home look great. So let's start:
  1. Tone your triceps—shine your windows. Grab a towel, spray the window, and do 10 circles to the right, then 10 to the left. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Then use the same moves to polish your tables, countertops, and anything else that's gathering dust. Keep a brisk pace and you'll definitely feel the burn in your shoulders and triceps. (30 minutes = 107 calories)
  2. Work your thighs with a vacuum. But don't just vacuum—lunge! Tense your muscles as far as you can while pushing the vacuum back and forth. As you lunge, keep your toes pointed forward, and bend your knees. Go slowly so you'll get a good stretch, and you'll work the backs of your legs and buttocks. Vacuum your couches and pillows, and you'll really feel the burn. (60 minutes = 238 calories)
  3. Lift your iron for a curvier butt. While ironing, squeeze your butt cheeks together for 10 seconds. Do this 10 times every couple of minutes, and you'll notice a difference in your muscle tone. Your bottom will hold in a semi-flexed position for up to 20 minutes after working the muscle. And don't forget to flex and stretch your shoulders and arms. (30 minutes = 80 calories)
  4. Get your thighs burning while cleaning clothes. Squat slowly as you pick up dirty laundry, while keeping your back straight and heels on the floor. Include one squat for every piece of laundry you put into the basket. And just watch your legs, buttocks, and thighs firm up. (15 minutes = 71 calories)
  5. Step up for clean shelves and great legs. Climb up and down a short stepladder (three or four steps) 10 times, alternating your feet. While you're up there, organize your shelves. By stepping up and working with your arms held high, you'll not only work out your legs, but your arms and shoulders, too. (60 minutes = 214 calories)
  6. Scrub your floors for sexy arms and abs. Drop the mop and get on your hands to scrub the floor. Cleaning your sink or bathroom by hand will also firm your arms and core. The harder you work, the better. And remember to push yourself by extending and exaggerating your arm movements. (60 minutes = 258 calories)
  7. Use that broom to work your shoulders and core. Don't vacuum the kitchen floor—sweep it. And get outside to sweep your patio, sidewalk, and driveway. When sweeping, be sure to work your obliques by pivoting at your waist. And when you bend down with the dust pan, do a few squats. Your thighs will thank you. (60 minutes = 272 calories)
  8. Make the bed for better upper-body tone. Take off the sheets, turn the mattress, pull the sheets straight, and plump those pillows—and you'll burn lots of calories. Stretch across the bed, and you'll also work your core and upper back. (30 minutes = 68 calories)
Add extra moves to burn more calories.

When you're mopping and sweeping to your music, include the boxer's bounce—that rhythmic bobbing and weaving boxers do—to your tasks. You'll add strength training to your workout without using weights. You may also find yourself finishing each job in less time. And since you're adding moves, why not drop and do a few push-ups or crunches? All this can really make a difference by helping you burn fat and add muscle.
Aim to burn 500 calories per day.

If you can do that each day, you'll burn a pound of fat per week. Of course, don't forget that you're burning calories when you walk the dog (30 minutes = 150 calories), go shopping (30 minutes = 122 calories), and the list goes on.

Whatever you do, the idea is to set a fast pace, and look for ways to add resistance to each move. When you do, you'll become a calorie-burning machine.

As helpful as it is, the Housework Workout won't replace a good Beachbody® workout. But by making simple changes to your housekeeping routine, you can achieve sensational weight loss results. Your house will be cleaner than ever. And that can only elevate your status as a domestic god or goddess.