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The truth is not many of us are thrilled at the thought of doing house chores. After a long week of striving for the perfect work-life balance, mopping the floor or scrubbing the toilet would likely be the last things on our minds on a Sunday. Unless, perhaps, you are organising guru Marie Kondo and cleaning genuinely sparks joy for you.
However, a spotless house comes with many perks. Not only would you avoid silent judgments from visiting guests, a 2010 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that those with ‘restful’ homes are less likely to be depressed or experience fatigue.
There are also other reasons behind the need of doing house chores such as good hygiene, which would bode well for your overall wellness. If that still does not motivate you enough to fully embrace house chores, let’s get creative by killing two birds with one stone. What if we can strike off two ‘dreadful’ things from our lists in one go? Yes, we are talking about exercises. After reading this article, we are sure that you will never look at your to-do lists the same way again.
When two becomes one
1. Dish washing
Some chores can also be therapeutic when done correctly and this is one of them. Studies have shown that washing dishes would allow you to engage with most of your senses: the temperature of the water running against your hands and the scent of the soap. In fact, it is reported that doing this chore could reduce up to 30 percent of anxiety and nervousness.
Up the ante: Work your glutes by doing some calf raises which would do wonders to your lower legs. In between doing the dishes, lift your heels to come high on the balls of your feet, squeezing your calf muscles and glutes as you go. Repeat for 5 to 10 times.
Health benefits: Improved muscular strength, shapes the appearance of calves into looking more toned.
2. Vacuuming and sweeping
Aside from keeping your space spotless, you will also be able to eliminate pollutants and respiratory irritants which could trigger allergies. The US Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommends that you vacuum your home once or twice a week to prevent microscopic particles from being released back into the air. Meanwhile, it is advisable to sweep the floors, especially the kitchen where there are food crumbs, to keep bugs and critters away.
Up the ante: Throw in some lunges into the mix, which would be easy considering you would likely need to vacuum or sweep over the same spot to ensure it is clean. Every time you push the vacuum or the broom forward, bring your front knee over your ankle at a 90 degree angle as your back knee gently taps the floor. Engage your core muscles to return to start position and repeat.
Health benefits: An hour of vacuuming has approximately the same benefits as 15 minutes of kickboxing. It strengthens your arms, core and legs.
3. Cleaning your bathroom
To some people, this is their favourite room in the house as they could get the most quality me-time while taking a shower or a bath. Due to this, the restroom could easily turn into a breeding ground for germs. By keeping it constantly clean, you are able to keep the germs under control and avoid from contracting bacteria-related diseases.
Up the ante: While you scrub-a-dub your sink, the bath, or the wall, try to engage all muscles by exerting a steady amount of force and speed, and switch arms as you go about the routine. If you are feeling adventurous, scrub faster to get your heart rate even higher.
Health benefits: It is a form of cardio exercise which enhances blood circulation. This allows your muscles to get the oxygen and nutrients they need to keep going. Researches also revealed that 30 minutes of activities such as scrubbing could reduce the risk of heart disease by 20 per cent.
Tips to making chores a little more enjoyable
Now are you more convinced that chores are not really bad at all? Good. We also have some tips on the things you can try to make the most fun out of house chores:
Turn it into a family game
Get your loved ones and play several challenges which would make cleaning appear more like a game rather than a dreadful task. You can start with ‘spot the misfits’, or basically look for 10 ten things that are not where they supposedly belong. For instance, picking up dirty clothes on the floor and place them in the laundry basket where they should be.
Don’t go the ‘marathon’ route
Cleaning appears tedious as it could seemingly feel never-ending. To combat this, take small breaks after roughly 20 minutes of cleaning. That would give you enough time to possibly sweep an entire room or load your laundry into the washing machine. Self-help author Rachel Hoffman said by following this technique, cleaning will be seen as a more manageable project with a definite end.
Take before and after pictures
Humans tend to enjoy doing a certain activity more, if they can sense the progress and produce a satisfying result. Use the same mindset to motivate yourself to clean. Take those pictures. When you see the difference you made before and after doing your chores, you would likely start your next weekend by grabbing a broom without even putting much thought into it.