Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cleanliness = Calorie-less-ness?

Housework and I have a very low-key relationship. When it needs to be done, I do it, but I'm not OCD about it and it sure ain't my favorite thing in the world. I would say compared to the residences of some of my more neat friends, my apartment probably looks like a dog-piss smelling crack house. I exaggerate, but you get the idea. It's neat, but not spotless. In the past, this was usually because I was overwhelmed with three jobs and graduate school gruel and didn't have time to clean, much less workout. (By the way, just as a side rant--doesn't Mr. Clean have something better to do with his time then tell the women of America that their homes can and should be spotless? lol. )

Jokes aside, isn't that the way it goes sometimes? Run, work, rush, do, go, be, eat, talk, sleep, go, go, go. Sometimes, we are so busy we can stop to smell the roses because we've already trampled them on our way out of the door in a mad rush. I know, even as a fitness instructor I have days off where I'm trying to catch up on everything and I feel like I don't even have time to workout on my own.

Despite my busiest of days, I've made it a resolution to start cleaning more. While sweeping the other day (and loathing it) a thought suddenly occurred to me--I AM doing something I like--I'm working out! So, I dropped the broom and made haste to my computer (gladly). I wanted to know exactly what kind of workout I was getting.

According to, a 140 pound person burns an average # of calories per 20 minutes doing each of these activities:

**Typing: 32 calories

**Surfing the internet: 32 calories

**Office Work (desk work): 38 calories

**Napping: 19 calories

**Mowing the lawn: 116 calories

**Kissing: 21 calories (WHOA!)

**Ironing: 49 calories

**Groceries (putting away): 53 calories

**Doing laundry: 46 calories

**Making copies at work: 49 calories

**Bathing the dog: 74 calories

**Watching TV or movie: 21 calories

**Showering: 42 calories

**Walking the dog: 64 calories

**Grocery shopping, with cart: 49 calories

**Putting away the groceries: 53 calories

**Mopping or Vacuuming around the home: 74 calories

**Aerobics - teaching class--306 calories in 45 min (compared to 238 for participants, which I thought was interesting!)

I wouldn't go THAT far to say that housework RULES, but some of those numbers really surprised me (like walking the dog--holy cow)!

So my idea is this: Think of housework or tasks as a workout--like circuit training. Circuit training is effective because it can fit even the busiest of schedules and it forces the body to adapt quickly to new moves, thus jump-starting the metabolism (this is the same idea behind P90x). Circuit training is especially good for people (like me!) who tend to have what I call "fitness ADD" and need constant movement in their workout to stay engaged :)

Think of each task you have to do as one station in a 6-10 station circuit (Depending on the amount of time you have). Allot 10 minutes for each task (which means you'll have to do them pretty quickly). In between the tasks are two minutes of cardio (Jumping Jacks, Lumber Jacks, Plyo jumps, Run in Place, etc.). See this page for more cardio ideas you can do at home. I call this workout "The Cleaning Circuit."

B's Cleaning Circuit example:

Station #1: General tidying up

2 MIN CARDIO (jumping jacks)

Station #2: Sweeping

2 MIN CARDIO (Run in place)

Station #3: Mopping

2 MIN CARDIO (skiers--leaping side to side)

Station #4: Walking the dog

Station #5: Walking the dog

2 MIN CARDIO (Plyo jumps)

Station #6: Dusting

2 MIN CARDIO (Punches and shuffles)

Station #7: Folding Clothes

2 MIN CARDIO (skipping with high knees)

Station #8: Vacuuming

Station #9: Vacuuming


Start with a very simple task and move to more vigorous ones in stations 4-8. End with a stretch. If you are even more pressed for time, you can cut out the 2 minutes of cardio between each station. No worries if you spill over into the next station time. If you finish the task before the end of the 10 minutes you could do some kind of cardio (see above) to fill in the extra time or move on to the next station.

I tried the example workout above yesterday and by the end of 2 hours I was SPENT, but my apartment was clean and I felt accomplished (both physically and mentally). It's amazing how much just 2 minutes of cardio here and there can do!

Yeah, cleaning still sucks...but at least it's a good workout!

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