Can Cleaning Be Exercise?

broom by creative commons

I have updated one of my four blogs (about faithcreative writingNew York, or this one, fitness) at least every other day during 2011. When I began in January 2011, I posted every day for 66 days, because I’d heard that’s how long it takes to make a habit.

When I traveled or wrote my NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing month), I slacked a bit. But mostly I’ve been consistent with my blogging.

I need to retire a couple of my blogs and this one, Running Aground, is the lead candidate for retirement. This has been my least popular and least updated blog. Reading about my attempt to run a 5K may not have mass appeal. And I don’t write on this one because I think that if I haven’t exercised by swimming, running, or going to Pilates class, I haven’t worked out. (Although, yes, I’ve written about sleep and diet, as well.)

But wait — I clean a lot and, living in New York City, I walk a lot! So let’s remember — Cleaning is a good work out. In an hour, you burn:

  • Sweeping: 240
  • Packing/Unpacking: 220
  • Scrubbing floors on hands and knees: 325 (Who does this?)
  • Cleaning, light (dusting, wiping down counters, picking up clothes): 100
  • Cleaning, general (washing dishes, doing laundry): 200

according to a post by Divine Caroline (Brie Cadman).

This post is an attempt to encourage myself to believe in the power of the clean-up work out! Now, Mary Beth, get out there and clean! I have about an hour to unpack from our Chicago trip and pack for our Adirondacks trip, take down the Christmas tree, and generally tidy up this apartment where I’ve hosted four parties in one month!

There’s been a lot of stash and dash over the holidays. Now let’s burn some calories by cleaning. But wait, first, I have to update my Facebook status and check my friends’ news.

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My fitness app says an hour of Pilates burns 336 calories. I find that hard to believe. It doesn’t seem like I’m doing that much.

This is Jenn, our Monday and Thursday exercise teacher.

Yesterday, at our lunch time work out Jenn said, “You all seem so down, like I’m torturing you,” when we were doing the hundred.

Hey, who has a smile on their face on Monday at noon, trying to hold the plank position? I said, “On Thursday, we’ll be less downcast.”

Also, it cracks me up that we work out in a small conference room right next to the cafeteria kitchen. Constantly in class, we hear the servers and the cooks yelling directives at each other, usually they say, “I need more waffle fries. More fried chicken.” But yesterday, I heard, “I need more broccoli.”

During exercise class, I am often thinking about lunch and so, always open to suggestion,  I thought, “Yes, I need more broccoli too.”

Even though I’m not always happy during exercise class, I am always happy when I’m done with exercise class. Then I can eat guilt-free, (broccoli not waffle fries).

I especially like when I am done with yoga class. That’s when we bow to each other and say, “Namaste.”

Motivating for Fitness

Give the late Jack LaLanne props. Sure, he was a comical character. When I was a kid, my brother John and I would make fun of his TV show — yet he was an uber manly and enthusiastic man, unlike our intellectual (yet, of course, manly) father.

But Jack LaLanne inspired his viewers to get up off their duffs and get fit (and he was an old man when I was a kid). Inspiring others to exercise is not easy. As any hardened Middle School gym  teacher would probably tell you.

LaLanne made fitness look sexy and fun. I went to my lunchtime Pilates class today. It was neither sexy nor fun.

We had to hold the plank position for one minute and I managed 38 seconds. That might be my record. I can’t believe that the rest of the class could do it. I sat on my heels marveling at their ability. I was very jealous.

That was probably the advantage to working out at home with Jack LaLanne — you didn’t have to witness how the rest of the world had much better upper body strength than you (or me). (On YouTube, I checked out Jack LaLanne’s 10-point plan 1. exercise 2. nutrition 3. positive thinking 4. good habits 5. grooming 6. smile 7. posture 8. help others 9. relaxation 10. faith. YES!)

So to commemorate Jack LaLanne, I am going to motivate my kids to get fit tonite. I am going to make them do 50 sit ups, 50 push ups or one minute of plank.

I will join them.  Because I experienced a weird thing after Pilates today. I felt taller. I felt more aligned. Although it was exceedingly cold in NYC today, my lunchtime fitness workout warmed me.