Household Chores You Can Use As an Alternative Exercise

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By Nicarose Mela U. Gerona

Maybe you’re someone that loves to go to the gym, but unfortunately, you are stuck at home with numerous tasks on your to do list. There’s dishes in the sink, dust on the ceiling fans, crumbs on the counter, messy files on your desk and junk on the coffee table. And you have guests coming to town this weekend! With so much on your plate, it seems that taking care of yourself often gets left behind and that includes your much needed gym time.

Or maybe the gym isn’t your thing and that’s okay too! The term “exercise” can be intimidating for some people and I totally get it. Instead of thinking of going to the gym – or exercising – as a “chore” in and of itself, how about instead focusing on what it is… movement! Housework, chasing your kids around and walking are all included here, so don’t restrict your mindset to that of needing to go to the gym to get your body moving to bun calories and reach your health and fitness goals.


What if I told you that everything on your to-do list could also be counted as “exercise”, or movement? Studies show that you can burn up to 100-300* calories for every chore you complete (start to finish). So grab your gloves, broom and mop and let’s burn some calories, killing two birds with one stone!

TIP: If you have stairs in your home, you can easily incorporate your cardio exercises as you go up and down, while alternating your chores. And if you don’t have stairs, challenge yourself to walk briskly from task to task to get your heartrate up is another great option!

Window Cleaning

Target: Arms, Core

Calories: 125-180 calories/ 30 minutes*

Using a sponge or a lightly wet cloth, gently move your arms in a circular motion to clean your windows. Go on to your next window, alternating arms at each window. Form is important here too! Be sure to straighten your back and tighten your core for a more intense window cleaning (workout!). You may want to use 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water and a teaspoon of detergent mixed in a spray bottle. Aside from being a disinfectant, this solution helps remove the wax build up on your windows from any previous cleaning chemicals.


Target: Core, Back, Upper Body and Legs

Calories: 112-238 calories/ 30 minutes*

For basic floor cleaning, you may try equal parts hot water and white vinegar. Try adding a few drops of essential oils, such as lemon, lavender or peppermint to omit the smell of the vinegar. This mixture can be used for sealed wood, linoleum, tile and laminate. To polish your wood floors, try mixing a gallon of hot water, ¾ cup olive oil and ½ cup lemon juice. The lemon and hot water work together to disinfect, while the olive oil makes your floors shine. Drying the floor is where your workout for your legs comes in. Take two clean cloths and step on one with each foot. In a sweeping or circular motion, move your feet back and forth until the area is dry. Always remember your form, straightening your back and tightening your core for best results (cleaning results and physical results).

Scrubbing The Floor

Smiling young woman washing floor at the home.

Target: Core, Lower Back, Glutes and Arms

Calories: 130-300 calories/ 30 minutes*

Proper body mechanics are one of the keys to preventing backaches. Scrubbing can be tough on your back so once again, watch your form. Squat really low as you scrub the floor, alternating each arm in a circular motion. Be sure to get into those nooks and crannies! Chances are, you’ll be dripping with sweat in no time. Use a ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with a gallon of hot water as you scrub your way towards burning calories and disinfecting your home.

De-cluttering (storage areas, etc.)

Target: Glutes, Legs, Core and Arms

Calories: 130-300 calories/30 minutes* (with the use of stairs or walking)

If you have to use the stairs to reach your storage area, or the places you’re cleaning out, that’s a bonus as it helps to burn extra calories. As with scrubbing, proper body mechanics are a must; you don’t want to strain your back. In lifting, bend your knees, pick up the box or object using your legs for stability and place it near to your chest. Be sure to tighten your core, slowly straighten your legs and stand up. When putting the box down, always remember to use your legs instead of your back to avoid injury.

Housework can be a big help to reaching your health and fitness goals! Not only does it help you physically, it also boosts your mood to see your environment sparkly clean. Using housework as your main form of exercise may not get you exactly to where you want to be goal-wise, but it is a great place to start! It is recommended that you put in a bit of variety into your exercise program, so try weight-training, yoga, hiking… whatever you enjoy… in addition to your household chores. And make it fun by adding music or getting your family involved in the process.

*depends on intensity of movement

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Nicarose Mela

Nicarose Mela

Licensed Nurse at Nica Can Write
Nicarose Mela U. Gerona is originally from Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.She spent her growing years in Qassim and Ar-Ar, Saudi Arabia with her family, then returned to her home country permanently for her schooling. She studied and graduated as Class Salutatorian in Bethany Baptist Academy Makati during high school, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig (University of Pasig City) as a Dean’s Lister and Best in Health Education Awardee in her fourth year.

In June 2013, she passed the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination. She is member of the Philippine Nurses Association, a licensed IVT specialist (Intravenous Therapy), and a BLS-ACLS provider following the American Heart Association standards. Currently, she works in a non-hospital environment, which gives her the time to write, read books and paint.
Nicarose Mela


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