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Housecleaning is a chore few of us look forward to, and my feeling is I should get more out of it than a clean living space. I should get...exercise.
Remember that Billy Idol song, "Dancing With Myself"? I dance with my vacuum cleaner. I have to get inspired to do more than just a quick surface cleaning, so I cut myself a deal: "If you sweep and vacuum the whole upstairs, you can listen to the Ramones -- LOUD -- while you're doing it."
According to Livestrong.com, a person who weighs 145 pounds will burn 165 calories vacuuming for an hour. My house doesn't have enough space to burn off a full 165 calories, so I'll settle for the 35+ calories I burn taking a pretty thorough run through the upstairs. Next week, I plan to add to the workout by doing a few deep knee bends (hey, all the better to see the spots I've missed) and rocking out when I hear "Judy is a Punk" over the whine of the vacuum cleaner. The week after, I plan to get the attachment hose out and go on a corner-cobweb hunt, the few extra minutes of arms raised over my head helping to burn even more calories.
On a quest for more tips about exercising while tidying up, I asked my sister, who runs a small housecleaning business, how she keeps from getting cleaning burnout. Since Michelle's still trying to lose those last few pounds of post-baby weight, she does her cleaning routine with 1-pound weights strapped around her ankles. Many of her clients have newer, sprawling homes where the carpet seems to go on forever. Michelle stays limber by stretching into each push with the vacuum. "Change hands!" she advises. "You'll be lopsided and sore if you don't switch off."
So next time you get out the vacuum, think of it as an exercise routine. Don't forget to take breaks, and to turn the music up loud.