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10 Best Spring Cleaning Workouts

By Cecilia H. Lee
From Team Beachbody - Click here for resources, tools and information to help you to reach your health, fitness and positive lifestyle goals!

"I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on."   Roseanne Barr

HouseTulips and daffodils are blooming. Butterflies and birds are flying under sunny skies. It's springtime! What better way to chase away the winter blues than to get your blood pumping by doing a bit of spring cleaning. A recent British study showed that the Brits burn over 50,000 calories a year (which adds up to almost 15 pounds of fat) just by cleaning their homes.

Here is a list of the top 10 highest calorie-burning chores (listed from the lowest to the highest, with the average number of calories burned per year). The good news is that the more you clean, the more calories you'll burn through. And the more body weight you're carrying, the more calories you'll burn. Not only will you get your workout, you'll have a clean house to enjoy afterward. So, get out that vacuum and get cleaning!

  • 10. DustingDust and polish (burn 2,288 calories per year). This can be one of the easiest chores to overlook, but since you're doing a deep cleaning, why not get totally into it? You don't even need fancy furniture sprays—just a combination of olive oil and white vinegar. It's like salad dressing for your furniture, only better (combine 1 cup of the oil and a 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a bottle; shake well). Use a soft cloth to work it in and buff out your furniture. You'll not only expend elbow grease (getting a bit of upper-body exercise in), but you'll have naturally shiny furniture. Light dusting burns about 170 calories per hour (assuming a body weight of 150 pounds); with more heavy scrubbing and cleaning, you burn 204 calories per hour.
  • 9. Change the bedding (burn 2,728 calories per year). Although there may be some debate about how often you should change the sheets on your bed, most people think that once every week or two is a good standard. To get in a little more exercise, be sure to make your bed every morning. This way, you'll have a nice bed to slip into every night and you'll also burn 136 calories per hour. Of course, none of us will take an hour to make the bed (Martha Stewart, notwithstanding), but even at 15 minutes, you've burned enough calories to make up for half a glass of wine.

  • 8. Cleaning the BathroomClean the bathroom (burn 2,891 calories per year). Sure, scrubbing toilets is no one's idea of a good time, but it doesn't have to be such a chore. Put on some fast music and get moving. If you make it a little race or game for yourself, you can get the whole bathroom clean in just 20 minutes. If you use large up-and-down movements (like when cleaning a shower door), you'll even get your stretches in. Just by cleaning the bathroom, you can burn at least 231 calories per hour.

  • 7. Sweep the floor (burn 2,896 calories per year). For outdoor areas and garage floors, nothing beats an old-fashioned broom and dustpan. This activity burns 272 calories per hour. So, it makes sense to sweep up the driveway and even get out to the sidewalk. Although sweeping ranked 7th in calories burned, you can increase the level of your workout by getting to all the nooks and crannies of your property that you usually avoid. Even better, stretch up and knock down those cobwebs that have been accumulating in the corners of your garage.

  • 6. Working Around the HouseTidy up (burn 4,541 calories per year). This is a general household chore that you can add to your routine every day. Don't worry about being efficient because the more back and forth you walk, the more steps you get in. If you have stairs in your home, even better. Be sure to keep your abs tightened when you do your chores, since it'll give your ab muscles a bit of a workout and improve your posture. Also, be sure to put away heavy things (try carrying those storage boxes down to the basement) to get in some weight training exercise. Even a light tidying up lets you burn over 170 calories per hour. Step it up and you can get it to over 240 calories burned per hour.

  • 5. Scrub the floor (burn 5,117 calories per year). Get on your hands and knees and scrub those tile or linoleum floors. Again, use big, broad circular movements and reach under the bed and other hard-to-reach places. You'll burn about 258 calories per hour, enough to make up for a serving of chicken nuggets.

  • 4. Washing DishesWash and dry the dishes (burn 6,781 calories per year). Give that dishwasher a rest and do your dishes by hand. You'll burn 156 calories per hour, just for standing and washing the dishes; but if you dry them by hand and put them away, you'll get even more bang for your buck. To get in a good stretch when putting away the dishes, twist and stretch to reach the higher shelves. If you want to save your hands from getting too dry, wear gloves.

  • 3. Iron your clothes (burn 6,794 calories per year). Get out all those clothes you've been hiding in the back of the closet and get ironing. To make it more fun, do it in front of the TV or with the radio playing. Just because it's housework, it doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. Besides, dancing a bit while you're ironing will give you a little more of a workout. Ironing, sans dancing, will burn about 156 calories per hour.

  • 2. VacuumingVacuum the floor (burn 6,800 calories per year). According to a recent survey, people found vacuuming to be one of the more enjoyable tasks to do around the house. To make it even less of a chore, put some of your favorite tunes into your portable CD or MP3 player and get going. Vacuuming burns about 238 calories per hour, but you can get more out of it by vacuuming the couches and pillows. Also, to make it more of a workout, put the pressure on your legs (don't strain your arms and shoulders, which can in turn strain your back). Instead of standing in one place and pushing the vacuum back and forth, walk with the vacuum from one end of the room to the other, like you'd do with a lawnmower. You'll get in more exercise and ensure yourself of not missing a spot. And now is a great time to find out how to best use all those attachments you've been wondering about and get in some lunges (keep your toes pointed straight ahead and bend your knees, but not more than 90 degrees).

  • 1. Do the laundry (burn 9,464 calories per year). Now that you've changed the bedsheets and piled up all the dirty towels, you can get the laundry going. Although doing the laundry only burns about 150 calories per hour, because it takes a while to go through several loads (especially if you have kids or major cleaning to do), the calories burned do add up.

If you have outside space, you can burn even more calories by gardening (246 calories per hour), raking (264 calories per hour), or mowing the lawn (a whopping 363 calories per hour).

RelaxingNow that you've cleaned the whole house, kick back with a tall glass of water and enjoy your handiwork. And remember that the same British study mentioned earlier showed that housework gave more of a workout than spending an hour at the gym. So, the next time you don't feel motivated to haul yourself down to the gym, put on your favorite music, and pick up your vacuum instead. Remember, doing your housework faster and more intensely not only makes for a better workout; you'll be done with your chores sooner. Happy cleaning!

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Hi, I'm Rich Dafter - full time dad, life-long runner, Team Beachbody Coach and Polar Global Ambassador. By the Grace of God, I have been able to raise my kids working from home by helping people get healthier, fitter and have better quality of life as a full-time Team Beachbody Coach since 2007. more...

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