Make Spring Cleaning a Workout


Chores you do around the house and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles if done correctly. Short episodes of mild exercise can improve your fitness level if done with intensity and speed. Adding 30 minutes of chores to a 30-minute traditional exercise activity makes for a full hour of exercise. The following are ways to change up your standard cleaning technique to get more exercise.

  • Putting on upbeat music helps you speed up.
  • Do all chores with tightened abs, which prevents slouching.
  • Stretch to knock down cobwebs or prune branches. You will feel it in your side.
  • Use large up/down movements, such as big circles for cleaning a shower.
  • Carry heavy baskets of laundry or other cleaning supplies up (or down) stairs.cleaning_supplies
  • Get on a stepladder as much as possible – making your own step class.
  • Get on your hands and knees to scrub floors, pulling dust bunnies, debris, and clutter out from under furniture.
  • Do lunges while vacuuming, bending knees no further than 90 degrees. Your thighs will feel the stretch. Use your legs to vacuum, not the arms and shoulders, which is hard on the neck and upper back. Push the vacuum from behind like a lawnmower, walking in rows across the room.
  • Put away dishes by facing forward and twisting at the waist to reach cabinets.
  • Lunge toward weeds in the garden. Some have tough roots that will require the strength of your whole body to pull.
  • Pruning requires and develops forearm strength and reaching up on your toes.
  • Pouring mulch or fertilizer from a large bag should be done in squatting position, using your legs – not your back.
  • Operating a weed-eater is a fencing-like motion, and good form should be used.
  • Beat area rugs with a clean broom rather than vacuuming, making more exercise for your arm muscles.
  • Mop with your hand on top of the handle, keeping your back straight. Use your legs to mop and lunge on each stroke.
  • Never lean over to lift anything! Bend your knees, squat down, or kneel on one knee – even to clean the toilet.


More physical activity in your daily routine can result in long-term fitness gains. The American Heart Association rates housework as moderate exercise. A 150-pound pervacuumson doing 30 minutes of chores can burn 92 calories cooking, 123 calories vacuuming, and 157 calories trimming shrubs. Compare this to walking for 30 minutes, which burns 155 calories. You can also lose track of time cleaning, something people at the gym never do. Every little bit of activity helps. Besides the fitness benefits of spring cleaning, you also end up with a cleaner house, nice-looking yard, and a sense of satisfaction.
“Spring Cleaning Calorie Burn.” Fitness & Exercise. WebMD, 2005. Web. 16 Apr 2015.

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