What?! Cleaning?! You mean surely not picking up a spray and wipe the kitchen tiles with a couple of swipes? How can you call this a workout?!
Well, back in the days (let’s say the good old 70’s) you filled a bucket with water and a bit of multi- purpose cleaner, using a cloth (& perhaps a brush for a thorough bathroom clean), wearing your marigolds while giving the house a good scrub. The bucket itself was pretty heavy, let’s say 20 litre water weighs 20kg (44lbs) and you carried this bucket around from one to another part of the house, climbing the stairs, thoroughly scrubbing the tiles in the bathroom and bathroom floor, working yourself into sweat! A good old scrub and you burn approx. 350 kcal with the side effect of taking a shower in a healthy mould free, shiny bathroom!
Making life easier and become less active.
Cleaning is annoying, a waste of time and for old fashioned housewives so let’s make life easier by using sprays and just give it a wipe. A variety of cleaning sprays were introduced over the years and the manufacturers make us believe you can get rid of the worst dirt by giving it a spray and wipe so you have quality time to spare to lie on the couch and watch your favourite show. (let’s have a bag of crisps as well to celebrate) Making things easier made us less active.
In the past 35 years the amount of people with overweight (obesity) in the Western world has grown significantly because of our sedative life-style, eating more ready meals/take-aways and some other factors playing a role in this matter.
In short; we move less + eat more crap = gaining more fat (increasing the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc)
So, lift your bump of the couch, get a bucket of water with a bit of multi-purpose cleaner and let’s go for a cleaning workout!
The cleaning workout.
You can burn quite a bit of calories with a thorough old-fashioned cleaning. The calories per cleaning task shown below are an estimate because age, gender, weight and fitness level play a role in how much you burn. If you’re quite fit for example and can climb the stairs without catching your breath, you’ll burn less calories getting on the stairs than someone who isn’t that fit. As well the size of your house/apartment/car matters.
Important here to mention is how to execute the cleaning tasks because it’s more likely to hurt your back at home picking something of the floor than in the gym.
Hoovering the entire house/apartment: 150-250 kcal
When you hoover do not not round the back completely while moving your arm forth and back because you end up with lower back pain. Keep the back in a neutral position and when you move your arm forward you just round the spine a bit from mid-spine. Make your workout more intense and the cleaning worthwhile, so hoover beneath your bed, drawer etc. behind the couch and shift some furniture around. When hoover beneath something, go down on your knees, make sure when you get on your feet again lift yourself in an upright position from the legs. (not the back)
Changing bed sheets: 120 kcal
How simple can it be, changing the sheets, pillow cases, duvet cover etc.
Bathroom cleaning: 350 kcal
To burn this amount of calories you really need that bucket of water and a cloth/brush. Make sure that when you lift the bucket of the floor you squat and lift yourself in an upright position from the legs. Clean the (tiles) walls from top to bottom, to get of rid limescale and mould you need a brush and use more power. Scrubbing the floors or use a cloth and get down on the knees. (sensitive knees? Place a towel beneath them) If you have back problems, it’s better to stand up right and use a mop. This big-time cleaning task will make you sweat!
Scrubbing/mopping the floor: 200-300 kcal
Depending whether you’re down on all fours and washing the floor with a cloth or scrubbing or standing on your feet. If your back allows it to be down on the floor then go for it, your floor will be cleaner when you put some pressure on your cloth.
Washing the car: 300 kcal
Washing the car by hand, inside & out. Hoover the seats etc. as well. It saves you money not driving through a car wash and you’ll get fitter.
Gardening: 300 kcal
You can burn even more if you have to lift heavy bags of soil and other material. Weeding, mowing etc. it’s a nice outdoor workout.
Now, there are other parts of the house that might need a good clean, the kitchen for example, so you may burn even more.
Same rules apply here like in the gym
Remember to be mindful when you lift something of the floor, squat and lift from the legs. Never round the spine whilst picking something from the floor! Be careful on a stepladder, don’t carry heavy things and/or not being able as well to hold on secure to the ladder. The rules apply here as they do when you would be exercising in a gym, keep your alignment and use the right technique! As well, the more you intensify the tasks the more you burn!