Cleaning Isn't a Chore: It's a Workout
Why spend money at a gym?
I have a friend called Julie who is a few years younger than me and who has a bit of a weight problem.
Twice a week she goes to the gym for a workout. She works from home so it's easy to fit into her schedule. All good so far.
But the thing I find a little strange is that whilst she's at the gym, she has someone go to her home to clean it. Again, I can see why that makes sense - it's better if the household chores are done when she's not trying to work.But she's always telling me that she's short of money.
I'm sure that you, like me, can see the solution. She should try stop spending money on the gas to get to the expensive gym, get rid of the cleaning person and clean the house herself, getting a good workout in the process.
Um ... isn't this a bit Stepford Wives?
I don't think so. What I see is that we have got three problems here:
- A woman who needs exercise
- A house that needs cleaning
- A lack of funds
Isn't the answer obvious? I'm pretty sure that Julie would say that doing the housework is no fun but it can be. And to me, sweating away on a treadmill isn't my idea of having a great time. And the reason I've illustrated this article with images from the old days is to accentuate that really, truly and honestly, cleaning the house and doing the chores is much easier than it used to be in days gone by.
The great thing about exercising at home is that you're in your own surroundings and you're your own boss. And if you're improving your environment and living space at the same time, well that's just brilliant.
See how lucky we are
Today, if the temperature in our homes isn't exactly perfect, we adjust switch. But you can see what this British woman had to do every day in the nineteen forties.Yes, many times in Britain it's warm enough to do without heating but that meant no hot water either.
Every day, the first morning chores was cleaning the grate of ashes (so dusty and dirty), hauling coal or logs from the cellar and then building a fire that would work (quite an art in itself).There were so many jobs like these that we've forgotten about today.
We really do have it so easy. Plus we have appliances and cleaning products, easy-clean surfaces and easy-wash fabrics.So, how about developing a twenty minute household chores workout? Have a wonderfully clean home, have a great workout and save money into the bargain.
Forget the easy option
If you look for articles about doing the chores online, you usually find tips about making them easier (such as paying the kids to do them!)I look for ways of making them more physical.
For example, we sometimes get spider webs in the corners of the ceiling. The easy way is to get a step stool and climb up to get them down or zap them with the vacuum hose - I prefer to use my brush and stretch - or even jump up if necessary.
It's really just a case of spending fifteen or twenty minutes a day doing something physical and making the most of your movements.Because I always play music during the session, I also jog about and wiggle to the music (I look ever so silly) as I sweep, shake and tidy.
Tips & tricks
This is what works for me. Everyone's different but it might give you ideas to create a quick workout regime that has the bonus of keeping your surroundings clean and fresh. This is my quick morning routine.
- Wear comfortable clothes. I once read about someone who cleaned the house naked - curtains firmly closed, of course. The logic was that all that was needed afterwards was a shower - no sweaty t-shirts to launder. Well, it's a thought...
- Work out to music. I like something really upbeat to keep me moving.(Chuck Mangione's Feel So Good is my workout music of choice)
- Making the bed is my first workout of the day. I really make the most of it, shaking the duvet with gusto, deliberately bending and stretching. I'm feeling good already. I'm feeling limber so I might do a few stretching exercises right there or bend to touch my toes a few times. It's as much a state of mind as anything - if I feel I'm helping my fitness, I feel fitter.
- Next, I sling a basket over my arm and go around picking things up that are in the wrong place. If I need to bend to pick something up, I bend from the knees. If I need to reach something that's been left on the sofa I stand a little further away than I normally would and stretch to reach it. This is fun. I'm feeling good.
- Exercising is a little like rolling a snowball down a hillside. It picks up speed and generates more energy. So now,I move around the house putting away the displaced articles from my basket. I'm careful to make the most of every movement - for example, if I have to put a book away on the bookshelf, I reach up to the highest shelf, stretching as I go.
- Now it's 'brush time' I have a stiff brush with a handle that's about twelve inches long (something like a toilet brush) and I roam the house with it. It's great for cleaning the top of baseboards (stretching and bending as I go), dusting the top of door frames (a good stretch) and scrubbing away at any of those unidentifiable lumps of gunk that I sometimes find on the wooden floors.
- Then it's time to sweep those floors. Because they aren't carpeted, I use a good old-fashioned broom but not in the listless way that I've seen himself do. I make the most of it stretching to reach the corners and bending my knees to reach under furniture. Just sweeping the house can be great workout in itself.
- Next, I tidy up the kitchen. I clean it every evening after dinner so it's just a case of putting empty wine bottles in the trash, putting away any evidence of himself's pre-bedtime snack and so on but because my brain is in exercise mode, I twist, turn and stretch to make the most of it. If the floor needs wiping over, I squat rather than kneel.
- Every day (OK, most days) I spend five minutes doing something that hasn't been done for a while such as dusting surfaces, sorting the inside of the refrigerator, wiping window ledges - whatever I spot - and this way, every part of the home gets attention over a period of several days - always making note of my movements and using my body to stretch and be supple.
- Into the bathroom now - a quick wipe over of anything that needs it - stretch to put anything that needs to go away into the cupboard - then a quick shower, stretching to wipe down the tiles and squeegee the glass when I'm done. Now I'm ready to start the day.
- Do note that 'studies show' that people who go to the gym often reward themselves afterwards with an ice cream or a croissant. This is probably why Julie, in her months of twice-a-week gym attendance has not lost any weight. Don't fall into this trap after your home workout. A lovely clean and tidy home is reward in itself. But a nice cup of herbal tea is good too...
I've never been taught yoga but my friend Valerie, who has been doing it for years, lent me this book.
It's excellent.She originally let me borrow it because it contained exercises that can be done sitting at the computer (or on a wheelchair) but I found that it had a lot of great ideas for incorporating exercise into daily tasks.
It's a book for everyone - not just the super-supple yoga enthusiasts.
Not just for the girls
The reason that this article shows images of women and not men from the nineteen forties is because jobs in the home were done largely by women then.
That's not because of 'a woman's place' or any other such malarkey, it's because it was the Second World War and all the men were fighting or working in the mines.
Well, those days are gone. Gentlemen, you too can keep your home up to the standard it deserves and develop your fine physique at the same time.Girls or boys, if you work in the garden, paint or decorate, clean upholstery or chase after young children, you're bound to retain a youthful figure.
Make your own cleaning products
These days,I'm very dubious about a lot of the cleaning products we see for sale. I like to know what I'm inhaling.Making your own is a wonderful option and they can be tailored to your own needs.I received this as a gift and if you're looking to delight someone who is environmentally aware (all of us these days) this is winner.
© 2014 Jackie Jackson