Tone up with the housework workout

Do your chores and get your exercise at the same time by incorporating these great fitness tips into your housekeeping routine.

How to turn housework into a fun workout
The key to becoming more active is not to think of exercise as something you go to a special place to do – the gym, the pool, or at a yoga studio, for example – but as something that feels as natural as climbing the stairs. There are plenty of opportunities around the home to make your day more active. Finding tasks that add up to 30 minutes a day most days of the week isn't difficult if you follow these tips.

1. Stay active
A Dutch study in the journal Nature found that people who engaged in moderate-intensity activity were more active overall than those who occasionally upped the intensity of their activity. We need to burn 400 calories a day in physical activity to stay in shape: 30 minutes' vacuuming burns 105, while walking briskly up and down stairs, putting toys and clothes away without stopping burns up to 150.

2. Balance board warm up

Keep a "wobble" board at home and use it to awaken your senses and body awareness before starting a housework session. This also builds core strength and a flexible pelvis and trunk. Spherical boards that move through 360 degrees are more effective than rockers that move from side to side.

3. Ditch the appliances
To sustain moderate activity wash up and dry by hand instead of using a dishwater, use a dustpan and brush over a vacuum cleaner, walk the clothes to the bottom of the garden to hang them out to dry rather than going straight to the dry cycle. All this makes your home greener, too. Build stretches into your day by reaching up for cobwebs with a feather duster.

4. Dusting stretches

Buy a feather duster and practise this stretch as you swipe at cobwebs. Holding the duster in your right hand, stand with feet hip-width apart and stretch it towards the ceiling. Lengthen your right side from hip to underarm without letting your left side collapse. Still stretching up, inhale. As you exhale, pull your tummy muscles in and reach over your head to your left side. Keep the left side of your waist long and stop if you feel strain on your back. Come back to the centre and repeat the sideways stretch 5 times. Repeat on your left side.

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Excerpted from 1,001 Ways to Get in Shape, copyright 2009 by Susannah Marriott. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

All rights reserved. TVA Group Inc. 2015