When spring rolls around, the warmer weather and increased sunshine are big mood boosters. As a result, many of us try to reset our living space and start our annual spring cleaning routine. It doesn’t have to be a chore, though. Whether you’re a fan of Marie Kondo’s minimalism or good old-fashioned seasonal elbow grease, spring cleaning is a great way to add a bit more activity into your day.1,2
Here are a few tips to transform your chores into a fun way to get your body moving.1,2
- Put on some tunes that make you want to move. Whether you’re a fan of rock and roll, salsa, or electronic dance music, pick some tunes that will help you pick up the pace as you clean and put a little pep in your step. This adds a cardiovascular element to your cleaning that’s good for your heart.
- Tighten those abs. You don’t have to worry about crunches. Just thinking about your abs and keeping them flexed while you work can help build and tone abdominal muscles. It also helps to keep your back supported and prevents you from slouching.
- Extend and lengthen typical movements. If you’re cleaning up-down on a mirror, left-right on a table, or in circles on a shower door, make every movement as large as possible. Cleaning windows and the outside of your car can help work the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back.
- Add stairs. If you live in a home or apartment with a laundry room in the basement, take the stairs to carry laundry and supplies between floors (if you have the ability to). If you don’t have stairs, or have limited mobility, try to find little ways to add more steps or movement to your regular cleaning routine. When you’re moving to your favourite music at the same time, you might not even notice.
- Be thorough. Don’t forget to mop, dust, or sweep below or behind furniture for your annual spring clean. Adding this extra movement helps you get to the corners you might skim over the rest of the year.
- Squat! Whether you’re cleaning a full-length mirror or scrubbing a shower wall, bathtub, or toilet, squat while you do so to help work your legs and glutes. With any body movement, if you focus on how you do it with proper form, not only are you getting a workout, you’re better-supporting your back.
- Mop with the top. When you mop with your hand on top of the mop handle, it helps keep your back straight, and tones the arm muscles as you clean. Make sure you use a mop that suits your height to make sure you’re not over-extending your arms, neck, and shoulders.
- Lunge while vacuuming. It may feel silly, but adding a few lunges in with each movement of the vacuum handle adds some much-needed lower-body strength training to your routine. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead, and don’t bend your knees beyond a 90 degree angle. It’s also beneficial for your arms and shoulders. If you switch legs and arms periodically, you’re getting a great, full-body workout.
- Lunge while weeding. That’s right, lunging isn’t just for indoors: when doing outdoor chores and gardening, you can get your lunges in while pulling weeds too.
- Prune from the top down. Pruning helps strengthen the forearms. It also involves reaching for top branches by getting on your toes, just like a calf raise.
- Use your legs, not your back. Time for more low-back supporting squats. As you pour mulch or fertilizer on your lawn and garden, use your legs, not your back.
- Let your weed-eater machine do the work. Hold your abs tight and focus on your form as you lean forward to nip those weeds in the bud.
- Bend from the knees. Whenever you need to lift something, never lean over; always bend from your knees. This includes cleaning toilets: squat or kneel on one knee instead. Not only is this smart for your back, it works your lower body.
That’s a lot for one person in one day, but if you have family members or friends in your household, dividing those tasks and challenging each other can help you enjoy a cleaner home, a better workout, and some bonding time with those you spend time with the most.
Not all those motions or activities are for everyone. For ability-friendly modifications, you can always consult your chiropractor for guidance.
Spring Cleaning Calorie Burn. WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/spring-cleaning-calorie-burn#1. Copyright 2005. Accessed February 22, 2017.
Get Moving: Easy Tips to Get Active! American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp#.WK3fX1UrIdU. Last reviewed September 2014. Accessed February 22, 2017.