It's spring cleaning time, and if you're having trouble motivating yourself to scrub the bath or give the windows a polish, you might want to think about the calories you'll work off and the muscles you'll tone.
Proper housework, the sort that calls for real elbow grease and hard graft can provide almost as decent a workout as any you'd get in a fancy gym, and experts agree that getting stuck into your household chores can melt away the excess pounds. “Housework burns calories and contributes to weight loss,” says fitness and weight loss guru Pascal Durand.
Spring cleaning tips
The bingo wing buster: heavy-duty window cleaning
Window cleaning works the biceps, triceps and shoulders, helping to tone the upper arms and banish bingo wings. A 30-minute session will raise your heart rate and burn around 125 calories.
You can take your window cleaning workout up a notch by applying heavier pressure when you polish and by stretching to clean the harder-to-reach places. Don't forget to clean outside as well as indoors to maximise the exercise.
How to clean windows
The total body workout: intensive loft clearance
You might dread having to clear out the loft, but a good declutter can provide you with a total body workout and give you a fantastic all-round fitness boost.
Clearing out a loft involves climbing a ladder, lifting and moving items around and general cleaning, which target all sorts of muscles, from the chest and shoulders to the calf muscles, and burns around 324 calories an hour.
Do watch your back though and remember to bend your knees and squat down when you lift a load.
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The tummy toner: whole-house vacuuming
Believe it or not, vacuuming makes for an effective tummy toner – the forward and backward movements you make when you're hoovering work the abdominal and oblique muscles to a T, not to mention the arms and shoulders.
Make sure you use the tool end brush to add extra resistance and aim to do the whole house in one session – hoovering for half an hour burns around 90 calories.
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The shoulder shaper: all-out oven cleaning
Not the nicest of chores, cleaning a greasy oven can be a gruelling task, but the scouring action you make when you really give it some welly is great for toning the muscles in the shoulder, and helps strengthen the wrists, too. If you can, try to be ambidextrous and use both hands for a more balanced workout.
The calorie burner: full-scale bathroom scrubbing
When you scrub away at tough, set-in stains on a bath, toilet or wash basin, you target the same muscles you would use to clean the oven, but this chore involves more stretching and bending. As a result, you can burn an impressive 200 calories by cleaning the bathroom for a mere 30 minutes.
How to clean grouting
The body stretcher: top-to-bottom dusting
Yoga and Pilates are all well and good, but you can also stretch your joints and help keep them supple by dusting the house from top to bottom.
Dusting entails a lot of stretching, squatting, crouching and standing on your toes, which all help protect and promote joint health. And all that stretching and so on should burn around 100 calories an hour.
Tips for dusting the house
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