Housework exercises

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Kendo_Bunny
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Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:08 am UTC

I've become interested in this lately, as I've been doing Spring Cleaning. I've been trying to work in various exercises while I clean - killing two birds kind of a thing. Does anyone else do anything like this?

Currently my routine involves 4 sets of squats, kickbacks, plies, and side kicks at the sink while I'm washing dishes, alternating arms when scrubbing windows and mirrors, and doing squat lifts of the full mop bucket. Moving the lower body is a lot easier while cleaning, but I'm still trying to figure out what upper body exercises I can do.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby kernelpanic » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:03 am UTC

An exercise that immediately comes to mind is to, when lifting something, lift it all the way over your head. The problem is you need to warm up much more than for, say, squatting.
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Re: Housework exercises

Postby psyck0 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:18 am UTC

To be honest with you, it's a waste of time. Any exercise that you can do "comfortably"- that is, manage to do while doing something else as well- isn't pushing you hard enough to be worth your time. All those women's magazines telling you to do curls with your grocery bags are full of shit. Save that time, pool it and do 20 minutes to half an hour of real exercise. Bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges etc are all still good, but do them at a fast pace, at set intervals and for sets. Time yourself and work on beating your times. You can get a really good bodyweight workout, but you have to work hard and fast for short (<2 minute) intervals with shorter (maybe 2 minutes to start, decrease as your fitness grows) rest periods.

To reiterate: exercise is never something that is easy. If it were easy, no one would be fat. Most people do very ineffective exercise, so it could be easier than what they are doing, but it will never be easy.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Solt » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:55 am UTC

While I generally agree with psyck0, there is one basic thing you can do to absolutely enormous effect: do everything faster. Vacuuming, particularly. Speed vacuuming can rival some of those full body cardio exercises out there since you are using so many different muscles with almost minimal consistent rhythm. That is, you are constantly changing direction, doing different motions using different muscles in different orders, and generally giving the finger to the concept of inertia. It has been shown that getting into a rhythm while running actually reduces calories consumed by as much as 30%, so speed vacuuming could actually rival running in workout intensity. Of course there isn't really that much to vacuum in an average house, and you have to be careful not to bang into things.

Same idea could apply to painting, window washing, dusting sturdy items, sweeping, moving stuff, etc. (Vacuuming still wins since it uses the heaviest weight) All would burn more calories if you did them faster because you'd have a higher heart rate. Plus, you'd be able to do more stuff in a given time period, meaning even more workout time. It's win win!

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:21 am UTC

I don't do household exercises to the exclusion of regular exercise. To me, it doesn't seem different if one is doing leg-lifts and arabesques at a bar or in front of the sink, though.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Nath » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:00 am UTC

It's not that different, I suppose, in the sense that they both give you the illusion of having done something useful without significant physical benefit.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby psyck0 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:30 pm UTC

I'm afraid nath is right. I had to look up what arabesques were, but I can say with certainty that they are a completely useless exercise except for someone trying to get more glute activation in their squat, which you are not.

Bodyweight exercises are mostly useful for fitness if done at high intensity in circuits for time. The ones you want are squats, knee tucks, burpees (maybe a bit hard at your current fitness level, but you should try them anyway), squat thrusts, split squats, pushups, pull-ups, high knees and skipping. There is a reasonable overview here. Someone has put together what looks at a glance like a decent circuit here.

To reiterate, if you are not working hard, the exercise is a waste of your time. "Working hard" means barely able to talk and sweating like a pig. Additionally, any exercise that is targeted at women, that you can't recall ever seeing a man do, is probably a waste of time, unfortunately. The female fitness industry is full of self-reaffirming bullshit and lies based around a completely irrational and fabricated idea that you will get too "big" if you do the real exercises for building muscle- weight training.

If you're looking to just lose some weight, stick with the circuits. If you have any desire to "tone up" (a horrible phrase), you need to take up weight training. As I said, bodyweight women's strength training is worthless. There is no danger of women getting "bulky" doing weight training for two reasons: 1) it takes an unbelievable amount of work to do it if you're trying to do it deliberately, so it's never going to happen by accident and 2) women have 1/10th the testosterone men do and so build much less muscle (testosterone promotes muscle growth), maybe 3/10ths as much. If you take a really giant, muscly guy and remove 7/10ths of his muscle, he'll be scrawny. It's not just going to happen for women without crazy dedication and anabolic steroids or testosterone supplements. If you want that nice ass that those arabesques are supposed to get you (hah! that woman was skinny from starvation and her ass is likely as firm as a sponge if those are really what she does for exercise), you need to squat, deadlift, bench press, press, and row, just like everyone else.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

I do weight training, and I do get bulky, because I have high testosterone. However, I can not do any exercise that involves jumping or bouncing, which is why I tend to do things like arabesques, leg-lifts, and squats. I started this topic awhile ago, but I have an extremely large bust, and I have not yet found a sports bra that can hold it in... even when layering three or four, which is painful and makes breathing difficult. Bouncing is also extremely painful: if I do more than about 30 sit-ups, my back knots up so much that I'm almost in tears, not to mention the hitting myself in the face. I can only move quickly on an elliptical, but not for too long, or my chest will cause me too much pain to continue.

So yeah, maybe I should have titled this 'Exercise for the large busted', but I had kind of hoped to move around that.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby EmilyR » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:I do weight training, and I do get bulky, because I have high testosterone. However, I can not do any exercise that involves jumping or bouncing, which is why I tend to do things like arabesques, leg-lifts, and squats. I started this topic awhile ago, but I have an extremely large bust, and I have not yet found a sports bra that can hold it in... even when layering three or four, which is painful and makes breathing difficult. Bouncing is also extremely painful: if I do more than about 30 sit-ups, my back knots up so much that I'm almost in tears, not to mention the hitting myself in the face. I can only move quickly on an elliptical, but not for too long, or my chest will cause me too much pain to continue.

So yeah, maybe I should have titled this 'Exercise for the large busted', but I had kind of hoped to move around that.

I'm pretty lucky in that regard as I'm only a 32C, but my gf's a 34F and has plenty of trouble. She's found Freya Active & Shock Absorber Max to be the most effective, so you may want to try those. She's a strong advocate of osteopathy & massage and found she had a lot less boob-related-pain once she started with them. Then again, she also has an acupuncturist stick pins in her once a week which I'm less sure about! :) It may just be psychosomatic, but it appears to work for her.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

I'm a 38J... but thanks for the tip. I'll look into it.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby psyck0 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

What kind of weight training do you do? That surprises me.

I can't think of much low-impact bodyweight training, I'm afraid. Mountain climbers, pushups, possibly speed squats are all that come to mind. I'd suggest rowing to get some interval cardio in. One I used to do is sets of 200 meters hard rowing (for time) with 30 seconds rest between reps and 2 minutes rest every 4 reps. Make sure you have proper form doing it, though. See http://www.againfaster.com/the-micd-instructor/2008/7/29/the-concept2-rower-part-1.html and the follow-up video.

Oh, I just remembered glute ham raises. Those are pretty good.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:22 pm UTC

I mostly do weight machines, with free weights for chest presses, shoulder presses, bicep curls, etc. I use resistance bands sometimes, and have been meaning to work them into push-ups. If I'm sitting around, I usually play with my dumbbells... I can lift 15 lbs. with my feet. Since I can't do sit-ups, I usually do Pilates boats or reverse crunches. Actually, I do a fair amount of moves taken from Pilates, yoga, and belly dancing - I dance while I'm cleaning, just to get my heart rate up and a few extra calories tacked in. After all, shaking around doesn't burn a ton of calories, but it burns more than standing still. Ever night I do a set of knee lifts and mule kicks. I also fence and do fencing drills.

Unlike most women, I'm thoroughly comfortable with my bulky muscles, even if they make my fat pockets stand out more. Those are shrinking, and I want to get back to the body I had before I became bulimic - solid muscle under a fairly thin layer of fat, with my giant, genetic breasts.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Nath » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

Well, that's inconvenient. Do low rep weighted sit-ups bother you? I used to be a high rep sit-up person, but found low rep stuff more useful. Even better on a Roman chair.

I don't see why you'd need to resort to dancing while vacuuming to burn 30 extra calories -- even if you can't jump, surely there are some forms of conditioning work that don't bother your back? Interval training on an exercise bike, maybe? You can spare 4 minutes a couple of times a week for some Tabata-style work.

And it's great that you're open to weight training, but free weights tend to have more carryover than machines to sports and martial arts, which I'm guessing from your username are of some interest to you. Do you have access to barbells?

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:49 pm UTC

A bit, but I'm trying to build up my hand strength before going for anything that weighs more than 25 lbs (excluding machines - I'm at 70 for lat pull-downs). I've got very small hands. I also tend to avoid sit ups on principle - I literally hit myself in the nose if I go too fast, defined as more than 10 a minute. I can currently do about 8 regular push-ups, 15 modified, and 30 vertical. I prefer vertical push-ups, even if they're not as effective, because then I don't have my chest dragging me down.

I also walk fairly long distances on a fairly regular basis, and my legs and lower back are where all my strength is. I've been thinking of taking up hiking, since I live in a good area for it and one of my friends is a survivalist.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:41 am UTC

You don't need to strengthen your hands before you start weight training. Holding barbells will strengthen your grip as much as you need to, particularly if you deadlift. I don't recall anyone ever getting injured through weak hands while weight training. For some exercises, such as squats, hand strength and size aren't factors at all.

A completely untrained novice can train hard with free weights -- even children, the elderly, and the just plain weak. You are none of the above, so you'll be fine. You might even find it preferable. For instance, it sounds like the bench and overhead press will be more pleasant for you than push-ups. And certainly much more effective than vertical push-ups.

You don't need to do sit-ups fast. Especially weighted sit-ups. A couple of unhurried sets of eight with a dumbbell or plate is fine. Choose a weight that makes the set challenging. Hitting yourself in the face is even less of a concern if you have access to a Roman chair.

Walking and hiking can be rewarding hobbies, but note that the actual calorie expenditure is lower than one might think. An hour's walk burns a couple hundred calories.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:44 am UTC

It's not weight training in general, it's at the moment, I prefer dumbbells to barbells. A large part of it is because it's easier for me to get a good grip on dumbbells, and the other part is I can keep a few sets of dumbbells at my house, rather than go to the gym. I usually go to the gym when I want to use the machines, or when I have a class (fencing, belly dancing, or yoga).

The elliptical is the only place I can run, and I proved myself fitter than I thought when I was able to do 15 minutes of running at a steep angle on it, including 4 minutes of flat-out sprinting. If I had tried that even last year, I probably would have fallen off the machine, rather than being a bit sweaty, kind of thirsty, and ready to fence two 10 point bouts. I could probably burn more by walking the 7 mile round trip to the gym, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for walking 3.5 miles, working out for an hour or two, and walking back. Going to the gym can be a bit of a hassle when I can do plenty of exercises at home.

As for hiking, where I live and at my weight, I burn almost 700 calories an hour.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:13 am UTC

In that case, hiking seems like a great hobby for weight loss, if you can put a good amount of time into it. And congratulations on the progress so far.

Dumbbells are more convenient than barbells, and work just fine for many exercises, including bench and overhead presses, and conditioning movements such as swings. However, two of the most important exercises for useful strength are squats and deadlifts, neither of which can be done with a substantial amount of weight with dumbbells. There are no good dumbbell-based substitutes, either. Like I said, grip isn't an issue for squats, and a weak grip makes deadlifts more useful, not less. So the only real limitation is your ability to get to the gym. Even a weekly squat/deadlift workout will be very useful -- three sets of five on the squats, one set of five on the deadlifts. It'll probably take no more than half an hour, including warmups.

Did I mention that they're also fun? :)

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Dave_Wise » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:41 pm UTC

For me, when I'm doing housework, I make a conscious effort to use good technique and so improve my overall skills. to bend down in a sloppy fashion is to miss an opportunity to stretch, to bend the back when lifting is to miss an opportunity to deadlift, and every time I want to sit down, I squat. And a pullup every time I go upstairs or downstairs with the laundry gives a nice balance to the punshing involved in sweeping the floor. It really does improve your technique, I swear to oilstone.
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Re: Housework exercises

Postby t-note » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:09 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:If you're looking to just lose some weight, stick with the circuits. If you have any desire to "tone up" (a horrible phrase), you need to take up weight training. As I said, bodyweight women's strength training is worthless. There is no danger of women getting "bulky" doing weight training for two reasons: 1) it takes an unbelievable amount of work to do it if you're trying to do it deliberately, so it's never going to happen by accident and 2) women have 1/10th the testosterone men do and so build much less muscle (testosterone promotes muscle growth), maybe 3/10ths as much. If you take a really giant, muscly guy and remove 7/10ths of his muscle, he'll be scrawny. It's not just going to happen for women without crazy dedication and anabolic steroids or testosterone supplements. If you want that nice ass that those arabesques are supposed to get you (hah! that woman was skinny from starvation and her ass is likely as firm as a sponge if those are really what she does for exercise), you need to squat, deadlift, bench press, press, and row, just like everyone else.


You obviously have never done any REAL housework/cleaning. if you do real housework, you sweat like a pig and can hardly talk while doing it.

example- Our flat is on the second story, and the laundry is in the basement. I have a busy busy 1 year old (already running around and trying to use the phone, gabbing away in baby talk!) that I must care for while doing chores, so anytime I leave the room the 1 year old is in, it's at a sprint with whatever I need in tow. everything is speed cleaned. EVERYTHING. this means mopping our hardwood floors upstairs, the floors in the living room (common area in the house with the flat mates) the bathroom, the kitchen...speed vacuuming the rugs (2 are 8x10 area rugs), sweeping said floors, picking up after the cats and dog (flat mate allows his Shepard to poop in the house) doing dishes by hand very fast, cleaning counter tops, windows (think large picture window in living room), picking up after the 1 year old, moving stools around so my 5'5" self can reach for dusting, window cleaning and cupboard cleaning/organizing, climbing said stools quick enough but not fast enough to topple over- moving boxes of flatmate's crap downstairs, outside to the garage, etc when he's in the mood to packrat things, doing yard work for roughly 3/4 an acre of land that has fruit trees, roses, a sizable pond, a HUGE yard to mow (no sit-down mower) a bird bath that SOMEONE (I swear it's that damn drug dealer across the street doing it) that keeps knocking over which weighs 10 lbs, black berry bushes around the compost pile I keep having to take the machete (literally- yes we own a machete) to, picking up after the husband who never ever takes his dishes downstairs to the kitchen (did I mention our flat is on the second story?)...

so, on average I climb 2 stories worth steps and go back down them at least 6-7 times a day, mostly at a sprint or a dead run. I lift 15-20 lb boxes 4-10 times a day, bend to pick things up 20-50 times a day, depending on how messy the child and husband have been, and if said child wants to be held. oh, and if I'm lifting said child up, I'm effectively lifting 25 lbs. I'm also speed sweeping, and sometimes speed mopping afterward. and at least once a day speed mopping the bathroom floor after bath time. and a few times a week speed yard working.

goddess help me if I have to paint anything, clean the oven, or clean the wasteland my flatmate has made of the garage or basement, or even erect some form of shade in the backyard for parties because people at my house are too cheap to buy one of those gazebo tent things (instead they buy 60 dollars worth of 20x30 tarp and put in posts, climb ladders and host the tarp overhead with things...running around the yard looking for things to secure it too...an engineer's nightmare, I tell you!)

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby Nath » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

t-note wrote:doing dishes by hand very fast

That used to be a Crossfit WOD, but they had to drop it because people kept getting rhabdo.

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Re: Housework exercises

Postby meatyochre » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

t-note wrote:You obviously have never done any REAL housework/cleaning. if you do real housework, you sweat like a pig and can hardly talk while doing it.

example- Our flat is on the second story, and the laundry is in the basement. I have a busy busy 1 year old (already running around and trying to use the phone, gabbing away in baby talk!) that I must care for while doing chores, so anytime I leave the room the 1 year old is in, it's at a sprint with whatever I need in tow. everything is speed cleaned. EVERYTHING. this means mopping our hardwood floors upstairs, the floors in the living room (common area in the house with the flat mates) the bathroom, the kitchen...speed vacuuming the rugs (2 are 8x10 area rugs), sweeping said floors, picking up after the cats and dog (flat mate allows his Shepard to poop in the house) doing dishes by hand very fast, cleaning counter tops, windows (think large picture window in living room), picking up after the 1 year old, moving stools around so my 5'5" self can reach for dusting, window cleaning and cupboard cleaning/organizing, climbing said stools quick enough but not fast enough to topple over- moving boxes of flatmate's crap downstairs, outside to the garage, etc when he's in the mood to packrat things, doing yard work for roughly 3/4 an acre of land that has fruit trees, roses, a sizable pond, a HUGE yard to mow (no sit-down mower) a bird bath that SOMEONE (I swear it's that damn drug dealer across the street doing it) that keeps knocking over which weighs 10 lbs, black berry bushes around the compost pile I keep having to take the machete (literally- yes we own a machete) to, picking up after the husband who never ever takes his dishes downstairs to the kitchen (did I mention our flat is on the second story?)...

so, on average I climb 2 stories worth steps and go back down them at least 6-7 times a day, mostly at a sprint or a dead run. I lift 15-20 lb boxes 4-10 times a day, bend to pick things up 20-50 times a day, depending on how messy the child and husband have been, and if said child wants to be held. oh, and if I'm lifting said child up, I'm effectively lifting 25 lbs. I'm also speed sweeping, and sometimes speed mopping afterward. and at least once a day speed mopping the bathroom floor after bath time. and a few times a week speed yard working.

goddess help me if I have to paint anything, clean the oven, or clean the wasteland my flatmate has made of the garage or basement, or even erect some form of shade in the backyard for parties because people at my house are too cheap to buy one of those gazebo tent things (instead they buy 60 dollars worth of 20x30 tarp and put in posts, climb ladders and host the tarp overhead with things...running around the yard looking for things to secure it too...an engineer's nightmare, I tell you!)

If this works for you, I hate to judge. But it seems like it would be safer for your child and more convenient for you to put your baby in a walker or playpen or high chair when you need to do things around the house. Particularly when leaving the room. A kid that age can put things in his mouth pretty much instantly without supervision.
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