"With households spending more time in their homes this year due to lockdown, the number of hours spent cleaning has significantly increased - more so than home workouts."
With people spending more time at home than ever in 2021, multitasking Brits are finding new ways to keep active – and one is easier than you might think… cleaning aerobics.
In a survey by window blind business Apollo Blinds, Brits now spend on average almost five hours per week cleaning and tidying, double the UK average in 20191.
This compares to a reported decrease in people doing ‘exercise’ (i.e doing an activity which requires physical effort, e.g. fast-paced walking or running, team sports, dance, swimming) and an increase in people being ‘inactive’.
And so could the nation’s new found love of lockdown cleaning be a secret weapon to getting in shape? To investigate the idea that our passion for cleaning could help us firm up, Apollo Blinds has joined forces with personal trainer Sarah Jones who believes that five hours of vigorous housework has the potential to burn through 3000 calories per week – that’s around 12,000 by 31st March, just doing the weekly chores!
Matt Thomas from Apollo Blinds said: “It’s clear from the data that with households spending more time in their homes this year and with restrictions on out of home activities, the number of hours spent cleaning has significantly increased - more so than home workouts.
“As well as looking at how just some extra moves while cleaning essential areas of the house could contribute to some significant calorie burning, we also worked out that we clock up 45.5 ‘mop miles’ a year when mopping and vacuuming and scale the equivalent of a small mountain climbing the stairs and ladders during a 12-month period of being house-proud.
“By adding a few more cleaning jobs to the list – like dusting window blinds – and applying some general rules of exercise to our five hours a week of housework you can get lean while you clean and burn lots more calories ahead of lockdown easing – just think how trim you could be by 31st March just doing cleaning aerobics!
“For example, cleaning windows and scrubbing the bathroom can use up around 244 calories, and if you mix in some squatting, lunging and calf raises to get your blood pumping and heart rate up (even a light sweat) you can double the results - it might even be better than an hour’s aerobics high intensity class – plus your house will be sparkling.
“It’s just important to remember, it’s not just how long we spend doing an activity - it’s actually the effort involved and how long we are keeping the muscle under tension that counts. It’s not enough to do little bits throughout the week – it’s vital to incorporate high intense bursts so we can feel the burn!”
Apollo Blinds’ six-step Clean Yourself Lean Exercise Guide
Apply these tips and you could be more toned and lighter in a month:
1. Power lunge hoover and sweep – perform walking lunges as you hoover or sweep floors, stretching out your arms in a smooth motion, keeping your back straight and ensuring your front knee is at a 90 degree angle and the back knee is an inch off the floor – do this for 10 minutes to get lean thighs (quadriceps) and a tight butt (glutes)!
2. Vigorous mopping - follow your vaccuming session with another aerobic activity such as vigorous mopping or scrubbing the floors to elevate your heart rate and keep you working at a higher intensity, which helps to burn fat.
3. Window and laundry squats - perform squats while cleaning windows and blinds, lifting the washing basket or when cleaning inside your kitchen cupboards. Squat low to the ground (feet shoulder width apart, back straight, sitting down into your bottom) to get water on your cloth, and then stretch up high moving arms in a circular motion to sculpt your shoulders! This will give your arms and legs the perfect dual workout. If you need to get up high, use stepladders and ensure you do 15 repetitions up and down the steps for lean legs.
4. Scrub up and press up – While you’re on your hands and knees, take the opportunity to do at least 10 reps of press-ups.
5. Stretch, twist and burn – Even when doing light forms of cleaning and dusting, tensing your abdominals and sucking them in (even for just 30 seconds at a time) works your core for that flat stomach you want! You can also clench your buttocks (glutes) – this will burn calories as well as helping to tone up problem areas. Try standing on one leg for 30 seconds, then the other, to work on balance and try 30 calf raises (getting up and down on tip toes) for toned calf muscles. Repeat 5 times.
And work your oblique muscles on the side of your stomach as you twist to transfer wet washing from the basket to the line or tumble dryer. Keep your head facing forward and twist at your torso.
6. A clean lift – Use bottles of cleaning products to tone arms and start and end your cleaning session with gentle activity like running on the spot or jumping jacks – to warm up the body and then cool it down with stretches.
Wear a pedometer during your cleaning session and aim to do at least 1,000 steps. We should aim to walk 10,000 steps per day, so every bit helps.
Matt added: “With the short days and unpredictable weather making working out outside difficult, we wanted to highlight how our new-found love for cleaning can help to boost the nation’s health and wellbeing with this fun clean yourself lean workout. It’s a fun way to multitask and with a good soundtrack, the perfect way to release some endorphins and get your house spic and span.”