How to Turn Household Chores into an Effective Exercise Habit

man cleaning the house

Our modern world has come to be defined by an increasingly busy lifestyle. What little space remains in each day, we tend to fill with our devices and other distractions. The pandemic has changed that. As people have shifted to spending most days at home, the flexibility of remote work and loss of travel have combined to give us more free time.

For once, many people will have the hours necessary to pursue further learning using online resources. They can take on a side hustle or make progress on a personal project. A lot of people are also finding opportunities to exercise by doing various workouts at home. But for some of us, free time simply equates to catching up on housework. A backlog of chores can finally be brought under control.

Why not kill two birds with one stone? Exercising as you do housework can give you an effective workout if appropriately executed. Here’s how you can get started.

Be intentional

The thought of shedding pounds while you go about doing tedious household tasks can be exciting. You might feel stoked enough to dash up and down stairs while clearing out the clutter. Or start scrubbing floors by hand while engaging your core in a full plank pose.

However, keep in mind that not all tasks are suitable for this purpose. Some, such as duct cleaning, are still best left to the professionals. Others carry an element of risk. Pruning trees or clearing leaves from your roof gutters will require proper safety measures.

As you start a new form of exercise, you have to approach it purposefully to maximize the benefits. This applies even to simple exercises. Anyone can start running on a treadmill, for instance. But coming from a baseline of little to no physical activity, attempting to do 5K at a brisk pace can quickly leave you fatigued and demoralized.

When you set reasonable targets, you can ease into shape. Your progress will be sustainable. Start by choosing one or two household chores that you frequently do and can be melded with exercises you’re already capable of doing. From there, you can gradually incorporate more activities into your daily and weekly routines as your fitness level improves.

Watch your form

Every exercise should be carried out with its corresponding proper form. When you do this, all of the muscles involved are handling the load. Hitting those muscles consistently with the stimulus of exercise is what creates positive stress. It makes them grow and lets you develop better overall strength and coordination.

Poor form leads to several problems in your training. When you don’t follow the intended form, your body tends to compensate. Some muscles tend to do the work of others. Throughout more reps and sets, this disproportionate workload is further emphasized. Overworked muscles get fatigued, and this leads to injury. Underworked muscles remain weak in relation to the whole. This limits your strength gains.

When you do housework as an exercise, it tends to feel a little informal. You may be tempted just to fill a laundry bag and carry it around any way you choose. But it’s still an exercise, and you need to do it with proper form.

woman cleaning

Use the internet for reference. Study the form required to do an overhead press, and notice how a trainer will maintain good posture, squeeze their shoulder blades and brace their core while keeping their wrists flexible. It may be helpful to do a few actual overhead press reps just so your body can learn the exercise. Then you can apply the same form to carrying your laundry around.

Move naturally

Chores are never-ending. You’ll always have some clothes and dishes to wash, carpets to vacuum, or debris to clear from your yard. But you want to get them under control, and when you approach these tasks with the commitment of a workout, you’ll get there. The volume will go down.

That’s good news for your household management, but bad news for your new workout system. So what can help to fill the void? Learning to move naturally is a fitness practice that’s become very popular in recent years. In a way, it’s an extension of the principle of good form, which you’ve already been practicing as you turn chores into workouts.

Observe the correct form in an exercise, and you strengthen the whole body. Understand and apply natural movement, and you can go around the house with increased functional mobility. Simply sitting down and getting up properly, jumping, and lifting heavy objects are things you do all the time at home. By moving naturally, you can turn those actions into a workout anytime you want.

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