House Cleaning and Yard Work: A Great Way to Exercise

House Cleaning for Exercise
20 Jan

Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank

Not everyone looks at their home while getting excited to keep it cleaned up. But there are all kinds of ways you can exercise around the house without it feeling like a chore. It all comes down to your mentality of cleaning and yard work.

This is especially true if you’re snowed in and can’t get to the gym.

Cleaning House IS Exercise

I know…a lot of people really don’t want to spend time sprucing up their homes. In fact, most wish that the home can come with some kind of self-cleaning technology.

However, keeping your house tidy is an incredible way to exercise. Not to mention having the benefit of not being embarrassed to have company over.

Burning Calories through Vigorous Movement

What’s the driving factor behind doing cardio workouts? To burn calories and improve your cardiovascular system. Technically, any activity that can elevate the heart rate above 70% of your maximum is considered vigorous exercise.

Depending on the nature of housework, you might not hit athletic levels of physical activity. However, it will elevate your heart to the point of “fat burn” and even “cardio” levels.

In fact, according to Fitbit, I’ve hit cardio levels of activity by sweeping and mopping my kitchen floor. And I can’t count the number of times straightening up the living room after teens mess it up over the weekend has worked me into a sweat.

So, I suppose you can count having children as a way to get in some great exercise. Though, I don’t condone getting pregnant simply because you need a workout.

Boosts Stamina and Minor Strength Training

By being physically active, you’re working on boosting stamina. This is related to building up Type 1 muscle fibers, which are usually the ones that take longer to fatigue.

Then, let’s mix in the “elbow grease” when it comes to cleaning the house as exercise. Moving furniture, the amount of force you put into scrubbing anything, lifting several pounds of snow repeatedly…all of these work as a form of strength training.

Though, to get the best benefit from strength training around the house, you’d need to do that specific activity on a routine basis. Still, constant movement and lifting will burn calories while contributing to overall strength, stamina, and weight loss.

This is especially true if you commit to a certain timeframe every day dedicated to “cleaning house.”

Having a Nice, Clean House Through Exercise

A great benefit to dedicating some of your day to a cleaning exercise is how your house looks afterward. There are days when I’ll spend 15 minutes going all-in on the living room, stand back, and think, “Now that’s how I want it to look.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for kids and pets to mess it up. So, I need to take it all in before they do.

Nonetheless, it’s nice being able to walk through the house without tripping on random things, such as shoes or boxes. And after the hour I spent organizing the garage, I nearly want to spend most of my day in there.

Plus, I don’t have to worry about what someone thinks of the house when walking in. That is as long as I can get to the messes the kids make before having anyone over.

Being Physical is Key to Keeping Fit

The bottom line is that physical activity is what helps you remain fit or quickly lose weight. Well, as long as you have a decent diet that isn’t filling you full of unused carbs.

It’s true that you’ll use different muscles for various actual exercise routines. But being able to keep your body in motion and the heart rate up is essentially cardio activity.

Putting in the effort to clean your house with a vigorous fervor for 20 to 30 minutes will burn quite a few calories.

5 Ways to Easily Exercise Around the House

When it comes to cleaning to work up a sweat, it comes down to movement. You can’t just mosey around and pick of few things up and call it a day. It all centers around moving as fast as possible (while being safe) and getting as much done as you can.

So, how do I get in a decent day’s worth of exercise cleaning the house?

1. Don’t Think of Cleaning as a Chore

The first thing is your mentality toward cleaning. If you think of it as a mundane chore that should be avoided, you will do so. It’ll be more difficult to maintain motivation and you’ll put in a half-assed effort.

Remember, as I say quite often: Put in a half-assed effort, expect a half-assed result.

Personally, I think of it more like a game and as a way to exercise. Instead of doing sit-ups or push-ups, I’m scrubbing floors or sweeping. And shoveling snow yesterday worked out my back, shoulders, biceps, and thighs.

Think of cleaning as nothing more than “exercise.”

2. 20 Minutes of Hardcore Cleaning

Do you know how much cleaning you can do within 20 minutes? And I’m not just talking about indoor stuff, either. In 20 minutes, I can mow the lawn, water the pumpkins, and pull half a garbage sack of weeds.

In those 20 minutes, I don’t slow down. I’m constantly moving to clean up anything and everything that gets in my way. Usually, I’ll set the timer and start from one side of the house to the other.

In fact, I’ve cleaned my entire 1200-square-foot home in under a week by focusing intensely on 20 minutes per day.

Then the kids come over and quickly decimate what I’ve accomplished. Still, it’s nice to see a spotless house just before the storm arrives.

My point is that I’ll set a timer for one of my breaks from work to push myself for a 20-minute house cleaning interval for daily exercise. And it works out exceptionally well for me.

3. Using Calorie Trackers to Gamify House Chores

I gamify exercise in all kinds of ways. One of my favorites is by using my Fitbit to track calorie burn for specific activities. In fact, I have a growing list of physical activities that burn the most calories.

The purpose is to see what is most effective at burning fat. And I plan to break down certain house chores even further, especially the more intense ones.

For example, you’ll burn far more calories sweeping and mopping than simply washing dishes by hand.

Since I find collecting and recording data fun, I look forward to things like shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. That’s because I am a bit of a geek.

Still, there are all kinds of ways to gamify fitness. You just need to find a way that makes house cleaning and exercise fun for you.

4. Tackle Some Major House Projects for Exercise

As I’ve mentioned above, some chores are simply more intensive than others for exercise. If you really want a good workout, why not find some of those major projects around the house and dive in?

For instance, I burned a lot of calories cleaning out the garage for a bit over an hour. Not only was I a sweaty mess by the end, but the garage looked immaculate.

As soon as the snow melts, I fully intend on doing some yard work in the front yard that involves shoveling out a ton of dirt and laying rocks to zero-scape the area closest to the house. And yes, I will be tracking that activity every day.

Rearrange the furniture. Paint a room. Clean out the pantry.

Find something around the house that is a bigger undertaking than simply vacuuming the carpet.

5. Landscaping and Gardening

Diving into a bit of landscaping and gardening is actually better for you than simply providing exercise around the house. For one thing, it puts you in a position for some vitamin D.

In other words, it’s quite healthy for you to get some sunlight. I know, a lot of people think they’re vampires and shy away from going outdoors during the day. However, it’s good for your physical and mental health.

Keep in mind that spending time outdoors while gardening improves your overall mood.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why I grow pumpkins, fruits, veggies, and spices every year. I love tending the garden and it gives me a moment of zen in my busy day-to-day lifestyle.

What Home-Based Activities Work Best for You?

It’s extremely easy to exercise while focusing on your house and property. It all comes down to the amount of effort you put into any given activity. But tackling each project with gusto has helped me lose more than 80 pounds thus far.

Not to mention being able to keep it off for the past several years.

What kind of activities do you enjoy doing around the house?

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