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Cleaning is Exercising

Cleaning is Exercising

And it is a match made in heaven

We have enough stuff competing for our time. We are supposed to cook our own meals and eat right, we’re supposed to be present and attentive parents, or we’re in demanding career positions. Then we are supposed to take care of the yard work, the house cleaning, the nightly dishwashing, or walking the dog. Is it any wonder we do not get enough exercise? How can we squeeze that in between hauling the kids to basketball practice and preparing the mushroom risotto for dinner before ducking out for a drink with the new client?

The crazier things get –– and we all know they never get easier –– the more we need to rely on our ability to synergize and synthesize our activities. Riding a bike to work, for example, knocks down two birds with one stone. Maybe you go as far as inviting that client over for risotto, so you save yourself a trip out at night and get more time with family.

Have you ever considered melding your cleaning, organizing, housework routines with your exercise routine? Here, we’ll lay out some of the reasons that this often overlooked synthesis might make sense for your demanding lifestyle. After all, cleaning and working out eat enormous amounts of time, and yet they are vitally important for similar reasons.


Similarities in Cleaning and Exercising Routines

We clean to be healthy, of course. We cannot live physically or mentally healthy lives with mold growing on our countertops or in our fridge. When we neglect to clean or organize, we feel stressed and anxious. It’s a cycle that works against us, too. First, you let a few things slip or you miss out on the routine cleaning needed to keep your home in good shape. Then you feel a little embarrassed, and the mess gets incrementally harder to clean up. If you miss a second round, you really start to feel inadequate, and your clutter begins to overwhelm you. Next thing you know, you’re inundated with junk and messes, feeling helpless.

Exercise, or missing out on our exercise routines, works in a similar cycle. Both can lead to self-resentment and mounting anxiety. When you do exercise, you reduce stress and you increase your capacity for taking on more, both physically and mentally. And when you do meet your cleaning or organizing needs around the house, you find yourself calmer, more at ease, and able to stay on top of the little messes that arise.

Taking advantage of the cyclical nature of exercise and cleaning routines means getting the operation moving in the right direction, creating momentum, and building capacity to take on more. When we start and hold-to these routines, we get the cycle working in our favor, and the positive momentum can overcome great obstacles.


Women Doing Exercise in Park

How to Clean-ercise

Don’t worry, we won’t use that word again. Excerclean isn’t any better. So let’s simply say that blending exercise into your cleaning or organizing needs is a fairly painless process, and it’s a combo that makes a lot of sense for the reasons mentioned above. Here are some tips to make this sustainable:


Warm Up

Just like with exercise, cleaning can cause injuries or unnecessary pain when you aren’t properly prepared. We want you to warm up in two senses of the work. Overall, you want to warm up to your routine. Don’t start from nothing and then attack the monster mess in the garage on a hot day. Build up slowly. We also want you to warm up daily. Go for a walk around the block to get your heart rate up a bit before you vacuum the house. Afterward, consider another walk to cool down.


Team Up

You have probably found that it’s easier to go for a long, hard run with a friend than solo. And cleaning in pairs beats scrubbing-away on your own any day. Find a friend or a neighbor who has a routine that works alongside yours. Team up a few times a week to workout by cleaning each other’s houses or raking each other’s leaves. If you’re feeling a little weird, or if your mess is too embarrassing to share, even with a great friend, then find a warm up buddy. Go for a walk with your friend and then head home to tackle your messes.


Plan Well

If you lift weights, you know you don’t work on your legs two days in a row. If you are a swimmer, you don’t stack peak sprint workouts on top of each other. It’s the same with cleaning and organizing. There is no reason to put two days of junk hauling or yard waste removal back to back. Do your junk removal on Monday and save the heavy lifting of the yard debris removal until at least Thursday.


Bonus Tip

If you feel like cleaning or organizing are just too easy (good for you!), mix in traditional exercises with your cleaning. Doing squats and calf raises between rooms as you vacuum helps you feel the burn.


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