READER REPORT:

Your home can be your gym

ANTHONY DE VILLIERS
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2014
Housework
WORK IT OFF: Why not burn off a few calories while cleaning?

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Consumerism begets consumerism.

The more appliances we purchase to make housework easier, the more exercising devices we need to buy to tone up those parts of our bodies which we formerly stretched and flexed by kneading, beating, wringing, rubbing, pushing, polishing and vacuuming. 

Many of us choose to deepen our carbon footprint by driving to the gym, where a host of devices put us through our paces in stuffy confines, amidst fellow sufferers. 

Your home is your gym if you choose it to be.

BREAD: Look up a recipe that uses yeast and the old fashioned kneading technique. Use a whole 1.5kg bag of flour to make a sizeable lump of dough. Kneading when done properly takes 15 minutes and is a strenuous workout for fingers, hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. Get into it, it's fun.

FLOOR: Once you've soaped and washed it by mop, throw an old towel folded on to the floor and dry by a swift rotating action using your foot whilst standing erect. Your heart rate will rise as legs, back and lower torso are exercised. Highly recommended.

WINDOWS: Top marks here for stretches, arms and shoulders. Get up close and personal for the outside windows, allowing yourself to get a bit wet. Use a squeegee in long smooth strokes for best results whilst remembering to change hands regularly.

LAWN: Use a mower that requires pushing to make the blades go round. It'll be about $70 at your hardware store. Excellent for legs, arms, shoulders and abs. Saves fuel and eliminates pollution by noise and fumes.

BEATING: The old fashioned beater which you turn by hand takes a long time, making it ideal for a sustained arm and wrist workout. Be sure to alternate left hand/right hand and hang in there till the egg white forms the familiar stiff peaks. This works on developing ambidextrosity integrates the brain hemispheres, so they say.

VACUUMING: In stead of dragging the unit, carry it whilst executing smooth strokes with the sucking end. Swap hands regularly and note which leg is leading. A stooping motion flexes the back and lower torso.

A host of further aerobic activities will suggest themselves to your creative self as you rev around the house getting fit, saving money, and reducing consumerism.

In a Harvard Medical School study the calories burnt per hour doing tasks round the home by a 70kg person were measured. Hoovering burns 194, washing the car burns 334, hand push lawn mowing burns 410 and cleaning windows 180. Mopping floors gets through 194 and walking up and down stairs wins at 516 calories per hour.

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A British writer, clearly impressed by the stair-climbing value, offered this piece of advice:

Plan your housework so you constantly have to run up and down the stairs. For example, empty the dishwasher in the kitchen, then make the bed upstairs, then vacuum the living room downstairs, then clean the bathroom upstairs - and so on. 

But that's plain silly. 


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