Does Cleaning Your House Count As Exercise?

Cheerful woman cleaning up her home and singing, using the vacuum cleaner as a microphone

Busy? Of course, you are! That can make it difficult to find the time to exercise. Balancing immediate needs like making dinner with the need for consistent exercise is tough, It turns out, you can get some health benefits from cleaning, but not all chores are created equal.

How Often Should You Exercise Per Week?

Whether it’s walking, running, lifting weights, or hitting a spin class, exercise deserves a place in your weekly routine. According to the CDC, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

To make that more accessible, focus on splitting up that time to fit into windows that work for you. It might be a 30-minute walk every day during your lunch break or two longer and more intense cardio workouts. The key is to put in the time!

The Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Make time to move and the results can make you feel better, sleep better, and even live longer. Meeting that 150-minute benchmark of physical activity offers benefits like:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improved concentration and learning skills
  • Maintain or lose weight
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer
  • Stronger bones, especially in menopausal women
  • Longer lifespan

Related Topic: Cleaning and Mental Health Go Together Like Hand-in-Rubber Glove

Does Cleaning Count as Exercise?

If those perks sound worth putting in the sweat, you can include cleaning as a part of your weekly exercise tally! There’s growing evidence that even relatively short periods of physical activity, like simple household cleaning chores, offer some improvement of your fitness.

The key element in using cleaning as exercise is intensity. It’s important to get your heart rate up and to move quickly; it may help to set a timer and focus on moving constantly for the full amount of time you’ve set aside for cleaning.

There are many ways to maximize your cleaning and turn it into a low-intensity workout session, including:

  • Ditch the cleaner caddy. Instead of bringing all your cleaning supplies with you, leave them in one central place in the house and make frequent trips back to grab the next supply or tool you need. If you have to go up and down stairs multiple times, that's an even better workout!
  • Listen to fast music. A lively beat can get your body moving while you clean. And yes, working in a little dancing to your cleaning session is an excellent exercise as well!
  • Exaggerate your movements. Be intentional with every movement and, if you feel comfortable, hold the position. For example, feel your body extend forward when vacuuming and test your balance; pull the vacuum back and tighten those abs!
  • Lift heavy laundry baskets. If you feel comfortable doing it, carry heavy loads of laundry throughout the house and fold them in the rooms you’re delivering them to. You might even make a point of lifting the basket and setting it back down a few times to mimic lifting weights at the gym! Of course, listen to your body and know your abilities. Always be careful to lift with your legs to protect your back.

Is Cleaning Exercise? Yes. But Not the Best Exercise.

Can you count cleaning as exercise? It’s certainly better than sitting still. According to one study, most cleaning activities burn roughly four times more calories than simply hanging out on the couch. Some cleaning activities burn more than others, and the intensity at which you tackle your cleaning and your fitness level also dictates how many calories you might burn.

Cleaning shouldn’t be your only source of exercise. British studies have found that women whose only physical activities are walking slowly and cleaning are out of shape and more likely to be overweight compared to women who walk for exercise regularly.

If you’re just focused on getting moving again, you can include a more vigorous style of cleaning as a part of your weekly exercise but be sure to also include your favorite forms of regular exercise or other activities that raise your heart rate enough to get you sweating.

Always consult your doctor before starting exercise and stay within your limits.

Fall in Love with a New Sport and Let Us Do the Cleaning

If the biggest hurdle to achieving your exercise goals is time, Molly Maid is here to help. Make time to ride bikes with the family, go for a hike, try a new sport, or hit the gym. We can create a cleaning plan based on your unique needs and goals. And we’ll customize it to suit your busy schedule, so you have more time to do the things you enjoy.

Let’s take cleaning off your to-do list. Request an estimate online today!