How do I get a good workout while doing household chores?

The key to turning any household task into exercise is to pick up the pace or increase intensity and sustain it for as long as comfortably possible without taking a break.

So if you have to clean the floors, throw on some upbeat music, and put some major muscle behind your mopping. And set yourself a goal to see if you can finish within a certain time limit. This will help you keep the activity intense enough to count it as exercise.

Pace and attitude create a workout environment regardless of location. Set specific goals (time) to get chores done and try to improve on that time each session. Hard work need not require a gym, just a will!

Depending on what chores you do this will make it a good workout all on it’s own. Things like mopping, sweeping, cleaning rugs are strenuous and will improve fitness over sitting on the couch. To make your chores more of a workout try to use as few labor-saving  devices as possible. By using not mechanized or electrical equipment it makes the chores more labor intensive and a better workout.  

In addition to the household chores mentioned above, look at yard work as a work out time. Instead of a gas mower use a manual mower. Don't blow your leaves, rake them. Both of these activities burn lots of calories and it's good for the environment as well.

Housework can burn an average of 250 calories per hour for a 150 lb. woman. Make extra trips up and down the stairs. When picking up small things off the floor, do it with a lunge. Do a full squat when lifting the laundry basket or groceries. To reach high places use the ladder. Make every opportunity to move more, lift more and carry more.  

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Household chores can make you build up a sweat, but can it make you fit? Watch this video as fitness expert Jenny Hein shows Dr. Oz how to get fit while drying his hair, doing laundry, and vacuuming.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.