Juggling everything that modern life throws your way can be tough. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day — which means there isn’t always the time for exercising. The long-term effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be serious, however, so it’s important to look for ways to get your heart rate up whenever you can.
You don’t need to fight your way through heavy traffic to squeeze in a 30-minute session at your local gym. And you certainly don’t need to let the housework slide in order to stay in shape. There’s a way of doing both at the same time. Vacuuming your home rigorously every day can give you an all-round workout. Not only can you get the cardiovascular exercise your body needs, you can strengthen and tone at the same time. But you need the right approach — which may mean changing the way you vacuum in your home.
Pick up the pace
In order to turn cleaning into cardiovascular exercise, you need to work quickly. At first, try increasing the intensity of your vacuuming by around 10 percent. Think of your levels of exertion in terms of a scale of one to 10. If your normal intensity is three, move up to four — and so on.
Aim for at least 20 minutes
According to Mayo Clinic, we need around 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. If you’re vacuuming three or four times a week, it’s best to give it at least 20 minutes each time. Your goal should be to become slightly out of breath each time. Rather than vacuuming your home in sections, tackle the entire home at the same time — without stopping. You’ll only get the cardiovascular benefits if you maintain the intensity for at least 20 minutes.
Clear the floors in advance
The last thing you want when vacuuming for exercise is to stop every few minutes to clear obstructions. Before you begin, walk around your home and remove clutter and obstructions. Once you start, you need to continue until you’re finished.
Don’t include the stairs
Climbing stairs with a vacuum cleaner can be hazardous at the best of times, but even more so when you’re trying to maintain a fast pace. It’s therefore a good idea to vacuum your stairs another time. However, you can increase the intensity of your workout by walking up and down your stairs every time you complete a room.
Play some music
Music is a great motivator, but it’s also good at helping you to maintain a fast pace. Play some of your favourite, up-tempo music as you make your way around your home. And to increase the rate at which you burn calories, don’t be afraid to dance along to your favourite tracks.
Switch arms regularly
Particularly if you’re using an upright, you can get a great upper body workout while vacuuming. However, it’s vital that you devote an equal amount of time to both arms. Remember, you’re not just putting your arms through their paces, you’re using your shoulders, chest and stomach muscles to drive the cleaner back and forwards.
Bend at the knees
Bending and stretching are part and parcel of vacuum cleaning — and great for increasing the rate at which you burn calories. But it’s important to do so safely. Never overreach to the point of imbalance, and bend at your knees to avoid a back injury. Maintaining a fast pace and bending up and down will give you a lower-body workout any personal trainer would be proud of. Execute lots of lunges, but don’t forget to use both legs.
Vacuuming at a normal rate burns around 175 calories per hour. But if you can double your usual intensity — and maintain it — it’s easy to see just how effective household vacuuming can be at building your fitness levels.