Woman with yoga mat

Anyone who does the housework doesn’t need to be told that cleaning can feel like quite the exercise routine.

And hey, the numbers prove it’s true:

  • You can burn 119 calories in just 30 minutes of vacuuming
  • And 153 calories with an hour of mopping.

If you really want to get your heart rate up, why not use the weekly chores to your advantage? By adding in body weight, ab and resistance exercises interspersed with the usual cleaning, you’ll have yourself a total body workout – with no need to go to the gym that day!



Vacuuming: Lunges

Woman doing a lunge

Vacuuming is the perfect opportunity for working your legs out while your hands are busy. As you vacuum the floor alternate with walking lunges, making sure you keep good form with your shoulders back and both knees bent at 90o angle.

This also ensures you maintain good posture while you vacuum and don’t succumb to rounding your back. Add in some lunge pulses to take the intensity up a notch.

Depending on what type of vacuum you have, this will be easiest with a stick vacuum or upright vacuum, where you won’t have a canister to lug around while you lunge.



Dusting the Shelves: Ab Exercises

Woman doing an ab workout

When performing the usual wipe down and dusting of the shelves, tabletops and window sills, fit in some ab exercises to strengthen and tone your core. Rotate between exercises as you finish cleaning each furniture piece.

Try out some of the following ab exercises:

  • Tabletop sit-ups (30 reps)
  • Russian twists (60 reps)
  • Crunches (30 reps)
  • Bicycle crunches (40 reps)
  • Leg raises (20 reps)
  • Plank (hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute).

You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise at home, but a mat is handy to have around for floor and ab exercises if you don’t have soft carpet to lie on.



Hanging Up the Washing: Cardio

Woman exercising outdoors

Putting the washing out on the line when the sun is shining is the perfect time to work up a sweat with some cardio exercises. Alternate between hanging up 10 pieces of clothing with 1-2 minutes of an exercise.

Work your way through doing a round of squats, jumping jacks, high knees, and burpees. You can repeat exercises if necessary or include your own.



Cleaning the Bathroom: Wall Sit

Perk up your weekly scrub of the bathroom with some natural exercise-inducing endorphins!

At the start, end and in between finishing one job (e.g. scrubbing the toilet, wiping the sink), do a wall sit while increasing the hold time with each one. Try starting your first wall sit at 30 seconds and then increase it continuously by 15-30 seconds.

How to do a wall sit: Lower yourself against a wall until you are sitting in a 900 sit with your feet shoulder-width apart. Press your back firmly against the wall and HOLD!



Washing the Windows: Push-ups

Woman doing push-ups

Window washing is an arm workout in itself, so why not turn up the intensity and add in push-ups? Push-ups are super effective for increasing strength and working your arms, abs and lower body all at the same time.

When cleaning your windows, set an alarm on your phone to ring every two minutes and pop down for 10-20 reps, depending on your level of fitness. If a proper push-up is too difficult to begin with, start with push-ups against the wall or kneeling.

Want some handy cleaning tips for when you work out with housework? We’ve got you covered: Cleaning Hacks: The Dos and Don’ts.