Cleaning gets a bad press. It’s lumped into the ‘boring’ and ‘mundane’ category. But it’s time to look at it in a new light and see it as a ready-made route to avoid shelling out on expensive gym membership. And you don’t have to leave home to do it, so it can be the ultimate home leisure pursuit.
Half of us rate vacuuming as the most satisfying household chore, according to a recent poll commissioned for professional house cleaning franchise Molly Maid.
But watching the crumbs and the fluff disappear to leave a freshly vacc’d pristine carpet isn’t the only useful accomplishment to come out of the task. Your quads and glutes (thigh and buttock) muscles are getting a good workout too.
The survey of 2,000 women by OnePoll found seven in 10 admitted they wanted to lose weight, but few realise how doing the housework can help - just over a quarter spent two or three hours cleaning per week. Lack of time was cited as the main reason by one third of the women for not doing a spring clean this year.
Pam Bader, chief executive of Molly Maid, told Workingmums.co.uk: ‘’Our survey showed that a third of respondents would go so far as reconsidering their gym membership if they could combine exercising with household chores. With over 25 years of experience, we’ve burnt a few calories and stretched a few muscles at Molly Maid, so we’re happy to share some of our tips.
‘’For many of us time-poor individuals cleaning is a chore, so with the onset of spring and with summer just around the corner it’s good to know that you can actually make your spring clean work twice as hard for you.’’
Personal trainer Fran Silver has incorporated some simple exercise routines into household tasks to burn up an extra 150 calories an hour. It’s possible to lose the same amount of calories in two hours of continuous cleaning as it is in an hour’s running or an hour of vigorous swimming.
Cleaning your way to fitness
Warm up by dusting and dancing along to your favourite music. Dusting is an excellent exercise to get the blood pumping because it works all the major muscles, especially if you’re determined to stretch up to those hard-to-reach places.
Next on the housework timetable are the windows. Here, quads and glutes are toned as you clean up and down the windows and incorporate squats.
To polish your windows, use a dry cloth in each hand. Rotate both hands one way to polish and change direction after 10 rotations – this gives a good workout to shoulders and triceps.
Cleaning the kitchen work surface will tone up obliques (abdomen muscles) and triceps. Stand in the centre of the work surface, hold a cloth in each hand and stretch as far as possible in each direction to clean.
Vacuuming downstairs – incorporate some walking lunges across the length of the room every time you step forward as you vacuum.
Scrubbing the kitchen floor will benefit arms, biceps and shoulders. Start on your hands and knees and hold the sponge or scrubbing brush with both hands. Holding your stomach in, reach forward as far as possible and return to your starting position. Keep your stomach engaged throughout and relax your neck. Use one of your cleaning trigger sprays to do 10 bicep curls – hold the spray and squeeze into the shoulder.
Using the stairs. Do two minutes of step exercises. Lead with the right leg for one minute and then lead with the left. Take your vacuum cleaner upstairs with you to work your arm muscles.
Cleaning the bathroom. Shoulders and triceps will be toned as you shoulder press against the bathroom wall. Facing the wall, with both hands high against the wall, lean into the wall, bending your elbows and then extend back to your starting position. Do 10, take a rest, then do another 10.
Vacuuming upstairs. Do some more walking lunges across the length of the room.
If you’re still feeling energetic, throw in 20 abdominal crunches at the end.
To cool down, walk round your house for five minutes admiring your handiwork. Don’t be tempted to reach for sweet treats as a reward!
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