Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mick’s in Some Vacuuming

HouseworkI took time out today to prep the house for guests (my awesome parents-in-law).  So that got me curious to know how much of an interval training workout housework is, specifically vacuuming.

Any guesses?

“Exercise by any other name still counts.  Several household chores qualify as aerobic activity, including sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing windows or cleaning out the garage, according to the American Heart Association.  The National Institute on Aging adds that raking leaves, gardening or cutting the lawn with a push mower constitutes moderate aerobic activity, as well.” (Pam Murphy, “Easy Ways to Increase My Heart Rate”)

“What's moderate intensity?  Moderate activity includes things like brisk walking and biking as well as daily activities such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming that raise your heart rate for at least 10 minutes continuously.  You feel a little warm and are able to talk while you exercise.  If you try to sing it's difficult.  You are working at 65%-74% of your maximum heart rate during moderate activity.” (Fit After 50)

The Joy of Vacuuming
I find counting calories not important for fitness (neither intake nor burning), but for those of your who are calorie counters:
“In this instance, a bigger house is better!  A 150 pound person can burn around 239 calories an hour pushing the vacuum around.” (National Academy of Sports Medicine)

“Different people burn calories at different rates, but the level of intensity and the duration of your chosen activity will determine how many calories you will burn.  Yes, it's true, even vacuuming burns some calories!  Generally speaking, the faster your heart rate, the greater the caloric burn.  So if you've got a huge house and work at a vigorous pace, you could even consider it a cardio workout.  Did you know that you can increase the rate at which you burn calories?  By simply adding a little lean muscle to your body by participating in a resistance training program, you can increase the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis.  A faster metabolism means less body fat.  You don't need to look like a bodybuilder to benefit from this either, even a little new muscle will help.  Your new and improved metabolism will help you burn more calories day and night, and applies to all activities, including vacuuming.  Happy house cleaning!(Chris Gomes - NASM Elite Trainer)

Pay attention to proper vacuuming.  Don’t hurt yourself.  Instead, concentrate on your muscles for some added benefits:  “Practice engaging your core and using your hip and leg muscles as you vacuum.  You may be shown a partial lunge exercise to simulate the actions needed to complete this task safely.  Keep the vacuum directly in front of you at all times.  Avoid trying to reach around corners or objects.  This will force you to bend and twist your low back.  Don't twist or bend your trunk to get under objects or to reach into tight spots. Use the rules of safe lifting (described in Session Four) when lifting and transporting the vacuum.” (Back Care Boot Camp)

So, being a moderate activity, vacuuming is not getting the heart rate up to the target for interval (burst) training, which is what I needed… but it is a great workout, regardless!

Be safe, and have fun doing housework, knowing you’re getting a workout!

“She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.“


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