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  • 6 Moves to Maximize Your Cleaning Routine

    Skip the gym with these sweat-inducing household chores that double as exercise.

    In six simple moves, you can turn your cleaning routine into a workout. Woman washing a window.

    We’re all short on time these days, so when there’s an opportunity to multitask, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to tackle two chores at once? Take house cleaning and working out, for example. If you’ve ever noticed how sweaty you get while putting in some elbow grease, that’s because cleaning is actually a great way to burn calories—up to 189 in just 30 minutes for heavy cleaning.¹

    So the next time your home is in need of TLC, grab some headphones and get to work. You’ll soon be on your way to stronger muscles and spotless spaces. And spotless spaces are better for your home’s indoor air quality. It’s a win-win.

    Lunge while vacuuming. Don’t get us wrong, we love the “cleaning-on-autopilot” robotic vacuums afford, but for this workout-cleaning combo, you’re going to need to break out the good old upright vacuum.

    With every push of the handle, lunge forward until your bent knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel with the floor. Bring your feet back together and repeat. This type of strength training exercise is helpful in developing strong bones, managing your weight, reducing symptoms of chronic conditions and even improving cognitive function.²

    Sprint up your stairs while tidying. Piles of clothing, books, papers and toys inevitably accumulate in your main-level living spaces over time. As you return them to their proper rooms, challenge yourself to sprint up and down the stairs, attempting to beat your previous time with every trip. Even climbing stairs at a regular pace benefits your heart and lungs, improves balance and coordination, and strengthens glutes.³

    Squat while doing laundry. That never-ending glut of laundry may benefit your glutes. Basket in hand, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and dip down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle as you load and unload your washer and dryer. This body resistance exercise will help strengthen muscles that, in turn, protect your knees.⁴

    Do pushups while scrubbing your floors. Forgo your mop and get down on all fours the next time your bathroom or kitchen floor needs a deep clean. Every few minutes, pause your scrubbing to do a set of pushups, an exercise that can help increase bone density, lower body fat percentage and ramp up your metabolism.²

    Work your arms while washing windows. Tune in to any workout video and the instructor will no doubt shout “feel the burn!” at some point. That burn is a good thing, as it means your muscles are being pushed beyond their normal limits, which leads to increased strength. Apply this strategy to window washing: Arms raised above your head, wipe down your windows (with a microfiber cloth to trap dust and prevent streaks) and don’t rest until you feel that fatigue kicking in.

    Step up your dusting routine. Don’t skip over those hard-to-reach surfaces while dusting. Instead, break out your step stool or ladder to give your cleaning radius a boost. Every time you step up and down to wipe the top of a cabinet or a ceiling fan, you’ll work muscles in the legs and glutes, improving muscle strength and balance, and reducing your risk of falls.

    Need some help getting started? Download our motivational cards and habit tracker (PDF, 366.33 KB).


    1. "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights," Harvard Health Publishing. 2021.

    2. "Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier," Mayo Clinic. 2021.

    3. "Stair Climbing For Healthy Lungs," American Lung Association.