Your Home is Your Gym: Turning 5 Key Chores into Your New Workouts!

It’s time to stop thinking of chores as merely chores and start thinking of chores as exercise, as ways to get you fitter and stronger. They are all physical activities that get you moving, with many of them even leaving you pretty much out of breath! Chores can be a way of working out without equipment or a gym. Yes! Your house IS your new gym, and your chores are your new workouts! But how? Read on for Your Home is Your Gym: Turning 5 Key Chores into Your New Workouts!

1. Vaccuming around the House

Nobody wants to drag the Hoover around the house – it’s boring, awkward, heavy, and time consuming. But unless you want your carpets to gather dirt and dust, it’s a necessary chore.

However, the weight of a vacuum and movements it requires of you make it a great reason to start thinking about chores as exercise. Here you’ll engage your core muscles and raise your heart rate. The back and forth motion of the broom or brush engages your external obliques, transverse abdominus, rectus abdominal, diaphragm, trapezius (neck), and the multifidus (back) muscles – in other words, vacuuming works all your core muscles!

Whether you’re using an upright vacuum or the more traditional Humpty Dumpty-style cleaner be aware of your posture with every without stroke and note the positions your body gets in to. Before you know it you’ll have completed a great cardio and core workout – PLUS your living room will be clean! And you didn’t even have to go far from the comfort of your sofa…clever eh?

2. Hanging out the Laundry

This tedious chore is bad enough in the summer, when you at least have the pleasant weather to enjoy while getting on with your tasks. During the colder months however, when you have to hunt for warm and airy spaces to hang your wet clothes in your already-too-cluttered house, it can get rather bothersome, right?

Or does it? Changing up the way you complete this chore could help you to achieve those toned legs and the glutes you’ve always wanted. Place your washing basket on the floor, and rather than bend over to pick up an item of clothing, turn the movement into a nice, low squat. Not only will this increase your overall leg strength by targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, but by squatting rather than bending over, you will be doing your back a favour too.
If you do bend at the hip, that will work, but do it a little slower, and feel which muscles are working. You’ll be amazed at how even the smallest movements you may have taken for granted, involves an intricate engagement of bodily functions.

Some inspiration: After watching this you’ll never see hanging out the laundry in quite the same way ever again!

You could even add some deadlifts in there. If you’ve done a particularly heavy washing load – use your full-washing basket as your weight, and complete a few reps after each time you hang something up to engage your erector muscles, back and legs.

3. Grocery Shopping

There’s nothing worse than not being able to find a parking space right outside your house after doing a big food shop. That trek from the boot of your car to your kitchen table feels like the longest journey in the world when your arms are laden with shopping bags. But wait! What if you embrace that final stretch of your grocery shopping, and use it to your advantage for a bit of a cardio effect? Bringing in the shopping bags mimics an effective exercise known as ‘loaded carries’, which is simply where you pick up a weight in each arm and walk.

By carrying those heavy shopping bags at your sides, you’ll be targeting your forearm flexors, biceps and of course your finger and gripping power. If you focus on tightening your grip, notice how you can easily increase your core-muscle engagement. By keeping your shoulders as tight as possible, you’ll also improve your shoulder joint stability by working the major muscles in your upper back.

Never look at the distance from the car to the kitchen as an inconvenience ever again! Consider it an opportunity to strengthen your upper back, shoulders and arms. Get some mileage out of those necessary lifts, and start seeing chores as exercise.

4. Gardening

For some, gardening is an enjoyable pastime, but for others it can seem like a chore when grass, weeds and unraked leaves are threatening to overwhelm your garden and unwilling eyes!

However, the great thing about gardening is that you can really use it as an opportunity to use all your major muscle groups in the fresh air with just a little extra awareness and the chore itself suddenly doesn’t seem that overly strenuous!

Gardening engages your calves, legs, buttocks, shoulders, stomach, arms, neck, back, arms forearms and grip all of which together will certainly get those calories burning! Gardening, with a little attention, can also improve your flexibility and strengthen your joints.

Why not use tidying up around the garden, turning compost, mowing the lawn, raking leaves and pulling up weeds as a way to build your body. Your garden is a fabulous gym right outside your door, make use of it!

5. Cleaning

Cleaning the sinks, cleaning the worktops, cleaning the tables, cleaning the floors…There’s always so much to be cleaned, right?

By cleaning your house, however, you’re automatically engaging in physical activity and cardiovascular exercise! Turn the household clean up operation into a high or medium intensity workout by putting on some fast or mid tempo music to ‘move’ you, lift your mood and thus the speed and vigour with which you scrub surfaces. Go from room to room, pick up and put down objects, and go up and down the stairs. Use your smartphone countdown timer/alarm and time yourself – turn it into a bit more of a game with yourself. You’ll be engaging your biceps, forearms and shoulders especially, for sure, but also your legs and your core!

The days of regarding household chores as time-wasters are over, start seeing ‘chores as exercise’, ‘exercising opportunities’ or ‘chances to train’. Grab that hoover with focused intent, lift those shopping bags with a heroic muscle-training mindset, (imagine you have an audience cheering you on) speed up your pace, make it fun – time yourself using your smartphone stopwatch – and watch your mindset change with a couple months’ practice. Get ready as all things household chores, will never be the same again!

Which chores, as exercise have you found to mimic workouts? The way you do them can make all the difference. Afterall, your body doesn’t know the difference, only your mind does! Comment with your thoughts below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Check out our other articles on; functional fitness, burpees, lunges and stay motivated to Keep YOUR Fit ON!

Jodie Sheehan

Jodie Sheehan is an English Literature graduate from the University of York. She loves writing, reading, being outdoors, staying active, and eating all things plant-based. She used to train as a gymnast in her younger years but now keeps herself fit through a variety of different activities which include running, swimming, walking and home-based workouts.

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