If you suddenly decide that housework counts as true exercise, does this then magically make it so?

One of the biggest gimmicks over the past decade or so is this idea that housework gets included in the daily exercise quota.

So now, all that housework you’ve been doing for years counts as a workout.

Now that you’re convinced of this, will the weight start dripping off your body? Will your heart now become fitter, bones stronger, back stronger?

You’ve been doing housework all along. So if it’s such good exercise…why do you still sweat and feel wiped out after a major event like cleaning the oven, the bathroom, the garage, etc.?

As a personal trainer, I’ve never told my clients that any cleaning they do around their house can replace structured aerobics or strength training.

I’ve never told them, “On the days you don’t have a session with me, you don’t have to exercise because you already have a built-in workout regimen: housework!

Just go about your day as usual, and whatever cleaning you do is your exercise for that day!”

Cleaning your home is a constant; this constant is there every day. Yes, every day, you do some form of cleaning or chores.

To reap results like fat loss, body transformation, toned muscles, a durable low back, stronger joints, improved heart function, etc., you must CREATE A VARIABLE. It’s called strength training and aerobics.

I had one client who would tell me about all the cleaning she was doing in the new house she bought.

Prior to moving in, she had no idea what was in store for her. The previous owners left certain things a total mess.

She’d describe for me the tasks, which included cleaning out gobs of dead moths.

Despite all this cleaning, she was in very bad physical condition. She was very weak and had poor aerobic capacity.

Only when she began training with me did she start gaining strength, losing abdominal fat and looking better.

When it’s time to change a flat tire or shovel heaps of wet snow, what will come through for you?

  • All the housework you’ve been doing?
  • Or the deadlifts, weighted squats, dumbbell bent-over rows, kettlebell swings, pushups and barbell shoulder presses?

Be sensible. Don’t get caught up in gimmicky fad thinking just to excuse yourself from knowing what you need to do.

Putting your fussy child in a car seat, then taking him out, hardly compares to one set of breath-taking squat jumps holding a 10 pound dumbbell in each hand.

Even if you wrestle with the child several times a day with the car seat…there’s just no comparison.


  • A good set of heavy kettlebell swings to exhaustion
  • followed by a 30 second rest
  • followed by pushups to exhaustion
  • then a 30 second rest
  • then jump-switch lunges for one minute (yes, deal with the searing burn in your thighs and butt)
  • 30 second rest
  • then one minute of burpees
  • 30 second rest
  • concluding with one minute of bodyweight squats … I guarantee you, this will do significantly more for your body than will two hours of cleaning the house.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



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