Cold winter months are often filled with holiday festivities, shopping and socializing, making it much more difficult to hit the gym or participate in our normal outdoor fitness routines. Don't despair! What if we told you that you can get your house spic and span, burn calories and squeeze in a workout all at the same time? We're here to tell you that you can -- all with some upgrades to your cleaning routine. Awesome, huh? Here are some simple tips that will transform your housecleaning and chores into a workout faster than a microwave minute. Here's how to get a head-to-toe workout while cleaning your house from top to bottom.
Speed It Up
Plan your cleaning workout in a way that you can move at a quicker pace with more intensity. This will get your heart pumping and help you get your chores done a little faster too! Play some upbeat music that may help you pick up some speed and make cleaning a bit more fun.
Bust a Move With Your Vac
To maximize your vacuuming experience, Jerry Tyler, a personal trainer who specializes in recreation and sports conditioning at the Sports Club in Irvine, Calif., recommends exaggerating your movements and changing hands frequently to give both sides of the body a comparable workout. Vacuuming is a high energy chore that is comparable to brisk walking, says Tyler. "Vacuuming not only provides you with cardiovascular conditioning, it also works your legs and shoulders." For maximum benefits, vacuum nonstop for at least 20 minutes and preferably more. Studies show that you don't begin to burn fat until 15 to 20 minutes into a moderate aerobic workout. It might be helpful to re-vacuum parts of the house, do walking lunges as you vacuum or to jog in place after you finish vacuuming.
Muscle Your Milk Workout
Make a strength training session out of bringing in your groceries and putting them away. Keep your back straight and carry each bag into the house, holding it close to your chest. Then when you get inside, stop and work your legs by doing squats. "Do this exercise with two or three bags, 15 to 20 times per bag," says Tyler. He also recommends isolating specific upper body muscles with bottles and cans. According to Tyler, many canned items are about 16 ounces, making them a good light weight; a jug of water or milk makes an even heavier one.
Dip and Dust
Dusting can be transformed into an aerobic activity just by adding circular movements to dusting motions. Move one arm until the muscle starts to burn and then switch arms. Alternate without stopping. Keep your core muscles engaged and move at a moderate to fast pace. Helpful tip: Clear the furniture you want to dust before starting to increase range of motion and to prevent stop and go.
"Whittle" while you work!
Downsize those obliques by adding a twist-and-reach move while loading your dishwasher and washing clothes. This movement will serve to strengthen core muscles and work out those love handles. When unloading your dishwasher, avoid bending over to reach for dishes; instead, do squats. Keep your back straight and lower yourself slowly to a sitting position. Wait for a second or two, slowly stand up and put dishes away.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. Keep in mind that you may need more physical activity to lose weight. While even the most intensely calorie-burning chores can't replace structured exercise completely, every little bit of activity helps, especially when you're unable to participate in your normal workout activities. The key is to try to do a little each day to see and feel maximum results.
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