8 Ways to Turn Household Tasks into a Workout
Workouts that happen only in set-off blocks of time? Not always an option. Luckily, there are stealthy ways to fit more activity into your current schedule—and in the most unexpected places.
From scrubbing the bathtub to raking the lawn, there are so many maximizable moments throughout the day when you’re moving, strengthening your muscles, and raising your heart rate. Plus, they’re opportunities to now add PersonalPoints™ to your Budget.
We’ll get into indoor vs outdoor activities, but first, before you start doing anything, set your activity tracker to a mixed cardio session, recommends personal trainer Christi Smith, M.S., certified strength & conditioning specialist and associate manager of science translation at WW.
No tracker? You can actually manually track activity in the WW app. Keep track of time, then select the activity that best matches your movement—choose from options like vacuuming, raking, scrubbing surfaces, housework, and more. And don’t forget to add the extras like lunges, calf raises, or tricep extensions. It’ll add up!
Now let’s get to those ideas for amping up your usual daily activities. More movement is always a plus.
1. Doing laundry
Do a wall sit for 20 to 30 seconds each time you check off a step on laundry duties. Between starting the washer, switching clothes to the dryer, and folding clothes (not to mention opening the dryer...to find that one towel is still somehow damp, ugh) you’ll log at least a minute. If you find yourself struggling to hold good form, cut down the time and slowly work your way up.
Stretching, pulling, pushing, bending—vacuuming has pretty much everything you need for a full-body workout. Engage your lower body even more by doing a set of lunges after you finish a room. You can also increase the intensity by challenging yourself to complete a room in a certain amount of time. (Bonus points if you turn it into a dance, Mrs. Doubtfire style.)
3. Putting away groceries
Canned goods, condiment bottles, and even apples can all double as dumbbells. Complete a few sets of arm curls as you restock the pantry and fridge after a grocery trip, Smith recommends. Good to know: A 16-ounce box of dry pasta is one pound. Start there and see how you feel—for a tougher workout you can increase the amount of reps or swap in heavier items.
Sneezing isn’t the only workout you can get from dusting (it’s a legit core exercise!). Each time you reach for a high shelf or fan blade, do a set of calf raises. And when it’s time to tackle a different floor of your house, take an extra trip up and down the stairs, and then do a few more calf raises off the edge of a step, Smith suggests.
5. Making the bed
After you make the bed or change the sheets (a workout in itself depending on your mattress size!), do a set of tricep dips. Position yourself at the edge of the bed, or for more support, a sturdy chair or bench.
6. Getting the mail
Walk around the block or do a few laps in your driveway the next time you head out to grab the mail. Even if it’s just an extra trip from your porch to the sidewalk, this is a great way to boost your daily step count, Smith says. Challenge yourself to do the same when you grab your latest package, Blue Apron delivery, or when you take out the trash.
7. Washing the car
Skip the car wash and do it yourself to add PersonalPoints and save money. All the reaching and scrubbing as you work your way around the car will strengthen your muscles, but the key is to keep up the pace. Other pro tips: Bend at the knees to wash the wheels and the lower parts of the car instead of just bending at the waist (your back will thank you), and move up and down as much as you can.
8. Working in the yard
Raking leaves, digging out weeds, and mowing the lawn are all tasks that can help you break a sweat. Instead of adding movements to get a full-body workout, try going old-school: Use a push mower if you have one, set your leaf blower aside for a rake, and carry smaller bags of discarded leaves to the curb instead of using a wheelbarrow. And when warmer weather rolls around, try a garden workout!
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