Finding time to hit the gym isn’t always easy. But you can actually blast a bunch of calories doing household chores – especially if you throw in a few squats and lunges while you wash dishes or laundry. Here are some of our favorite ways to get a workout – and a clean house – at the same time.
1. Squeaky clean squats
That bucket of water you use to mop the floors or wash the car can help you get toned. Grab the bucket handle with both hands and stand with your feet pointed straight ahead, shoulder-width apart. Keep your back flat and arms straight in front of you while you slowly squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground — like you are sitting into a chair. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times. Watch this video with family physician Gretchen Phillips, MD, for more ways to sneak exercise into your busy day.
2. Dirty dish dips
Tired of looking at that pile of dishes in the sink? Turn this unpleasant chore into a fun mini-workout: Every few minutes, take a break and face the sink with your hands on the edge of the countertop and your arms straight. Position your feet on the floor slightly farther than arms-length away from the counter; you want your body at a slight angle. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the counter. Return to the starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times. Here are some other exercises you can do in the kitchen.
3. Backyard twists
Did you know that 30 minutes of raking the yard burns between 135 and 155 calories? That’s basically the equivalent of 20 minutes of tennis! Here’s how you can boost the calorie burn even more: Place your right hand below the left on the rake. Reach the rake out as far as you can. Pull debris back toward your left foot with long, steady strokes while twisting your hips and upper body to the left. Do half of your raking with this motion, then move your left hand below your right and do the rest with a left-to-right twisting motion. Find out an added benefit of exercising outside.
4. Vacuum lunges
Vacuuming torches calories when you do it for a while. But if you only have a small space to vacuum, you can still get a good workout by incorporating lunges. Stand straight with the vacuum a few inches in front of you. When you extend the vacuum, lunge forward with your right leg. Make sure that your knee stays inline with your front foot and doesn’t come forward over your toes. Then return to the starting position. Switch legs, repeating this motion until the room is clean.
5. Laundry legs
Turn laundry time into a lower body strength-training session. Instead of dumping your laundry into the washing machine, place your laundry basket on the floor. Then perform a squat to pick up each item of clothing. If you have 25 pieces of dirty clothes, that means 25 squats! You’ll never think of laundry the same way again. Visit our Fitness Center for more exercise tips and workouts.