Whether you’re a parent and primary caretaker of your home, a busy professional or a carefree singleton in the prime of his or her life, you may struggle to find time for a legitimate workout, much less develop an exercise routine. If this is the case, fret not, as you can still work that core and achieve a physique of which you can be proud. How? You may wonder. Simply by doing what you do — maintaining your home and the other things you own.
The household chores you do every day — and even those you do infrequently, such as painting or dusting the fans — works your core just as effectively as an abs day at the gym. So, which chores are more effective than others? The answers may surprise you.
Vacuuming doesn’t just bust the dust — it also busts the gut. In all seriousness though, pushing a vacuum around works the triceps and extends the lateral muscles, especially if you use an older model. The chore is extra effective if you go all out and move around furniture while you’re at it.
You can make the most of this daily or weekly chore by treating vacuuming as you would any other workout and using proper “gym technique.” Squat when plugging in and unplugging the appliance, push with your legs when moving furniture and hold your abs tight as you sweep away.
If you’ve ever raked leaves or mowed grass before, you know just how effective of a “workout” this chore is. Like vacuuming, raking works the arms and abdominal muscles. It also works the legs, back and buttock muscles as well. Raking, all around, is a great workout.
You can get extra points by bagging the leaves and hauling the load to the curb. However, be smart in your technique and seek help from a spouse, neighbor, child or friend. Claiming to have thrown out your back hauling leaves is slightly more embarrassing than saying you threw it out on leg day.
Painting just doesn’t just work your core; it works your whole body. Painting requires you to squat, stretch, press and rotate parts of your body in ways you don’t rotate them in everyday life. It’s because of its impressive benefits that Mr. Miyagi used fence painting as a form of discipline for Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid. If a paint project ever presents itself, no matter how small, volunteer yourself to lend a helping hand.
Like leaf raking, if you’ve ever power washed anything, you know just how effective it is as a workout. Power washing forces you to control a hose that has a steady 2,400 PSI of water pulsing through it. Moreover, it requires overhead lifting, rotational movement and squatting, all of which work not just your abs but also, your whole body.
To make the most of your power washing endeavors, plan to spend a whole day doing it. This is not necessary to reap the most benefits but to ensure you don’t strain any muscles in the process (that’s how effective power washing is).
You don’t need a gym membership or even hours of free time to work your core. All you need is the motivation to do what you already do, and that is to maintain your home and property.