Exercise While Cleaning and Doing House Work


All, Nothing, Or Multitasking?

One of the top reasons clients tell me they don’t exercise as much as they would like is because they can’t find the time. I get that. These days, people have become more and more busy; finding it hard to get that recommended 150 to 175 minutes of moderate cardio exercise per week.

That sounds like a lot of time. For the “all or nothing” thinkers, this is the end of it.

If I can’t do what I want, I might as well do nothing.

That’s when I want to shout “You’re making a misssttttaaaakkkkkeeee”

It sucks to be pulled in a million different directions. But saying “not right now” every day might as well be saying “never”. I gotta tell you, you’ll never make exercise a habit thinking like that. So what do you do instead?

Multitask It

I’m sure there are to-do items that are pretty mindless – like cleaning. The good news is you may be able to count on cleaning and chores as a part of your exercise time! Many chores are considered medium intensity cardio or strength training exercises.

First, Get The Right Energy

Put on some energizing music and dance to the beat while you do your chores. This music should be upbeat and some of your favorite Pandora station. Having music will keep you motivated, make the time go by faster, and allow you to have fun while doing housework.

Folding Laundry?

Keep the clothes basket on the floor and add in a squat (with the correct form—click here for a how-to) between each piece of clothing. Or do wall sits (30 to a minute intervals) while you are folding your laundry.

Squat as you pick up a laundry basket and put the laundry away.

Putting groceries away?

Lunge through the kitchen as you put each item away (correct form is key –here’s your how-to).

Vacuuming your entire house?

The forward and back motion is a great workout for your legs, abs and arms. Flex your muscles 1 at a time, beginning at your pelvis and moving into your upper abs, and keep them flexed (or tightened) for the entire duration of your vacuuming. Lunge and squat it out and hold it for a few seconds.

Sweeping or mopping your floors?

While sweeping your floor keep your abdominal muscles flex and squat rather than bend over if you need to get into a hard to reach space.

While your waiting for your food to be done!

Try finding a 15-30 minute workout you enjoy to do while you are cooking food that takes a while. Women’s Health magazine has a great Superfast Total-Body Workout, check it out to work every major muscle group in 15-minues (for dumbbells you can use cans).

Another workout you could try is this 20 Minute Living Room Workout from Happy Healthy Mama:

  • 15 squat jumps (how-to)
  • 5 push ups
  • 25 high knees (how-to)
  • 7 burpees (how-to)
  • 10 lunges (how-to)
  • 7 squats (how-to)
  • 5 push ups
  • 10 lunges
  • 5 push ups
  • 7 squats
  • 15 squat jumps
  • 1 minute wall sit (how-to)
  • 5 push ups
  • 25 high knees

Repeat 2-3 times

More Exercise While You Cook Ideas

While you are waiting for the microwave or water to boil, do squats and push-ups on the floor or against the wall, or simply march in place.

Do 10 push-ups or 1-minute planks while cooking your food. (How-to-do planks on Greatist).

Do calf raises as you set the table, plate food, or wash the dishes. Even better, have someone else clean up so you can grab a few minutes to do a 7-minute workout. If you have more time, repeat it.


Have Stairs? Take Them.

Run or walk up and down your stairs 5-10 times – set up your schedule of chores to maximize the times you go up and down the stairs.

Errands? Be Your Own People Mover

Use your body as the vehicle to run errands on foot. Instead of driving to the store, walk! Think of the pros: it’s better for the environment, better for your health, and saves money on gas. If walking to the store isn’t an option, park as far from the door as possible to get an extra bit of walking in.

At Work? Move It. 

You can literally make about just any activity, more active! You can get extra movement in things you are already doing. Instead of shooting someone an email, deliver the message in person. Change your desk meeting into a walk and talk meeting to fit in work and movement at the same time.

If you are one of those people who work through your lunch, what if you ran an errand and took your lunch break to enjoy yourself instead of slogging through that hour or half-hour? You’ll get some physical activity AND self-care, both of which will help you be more productive in the long-run.

Going through a seemingly endless inbox or stuck at your office desk all day? Stand on foot while you check your emails or do your work.

 Whew, I’m Tired Just Sharing These Ideas… What are yours?

Join the #Spring2Wellness Challenge Today (3 more weeks left)

Spring (1)Since the start of spring, over 1,000 people have been enjoying their time learning new tips for motivation, recipes and workouts absolutely FREE with my latest challenge, “Spring 2 Wellness.”

It’s not to late to join in. We have three more weeks left of weekly challenge emails. Sign up here.

After you complete it, I’ll be sharing my 7-day “feel good guide” (also free). Then you’ll get messages from me ongoing 1-2 times a month, with some of my favorite tools, tips and resources right to your inbox.

Read on if you would like to catch up and get some wellness in your life instantly! Next challenge goes out Friday April 25th,

Spring 2 Wellness Week 1

Week 1 was all about goal setting.

Your intention is your commitment to take action. Start by (1) get a clear on what you want and why you want it and (2) WRITE IT DOWN or it isn’t happening.

I will ______ on (or by) ________.

Check out this link for more goal setting tips 9 Habits For a Happier Healthier Life

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 2

Week 2: plan, plan, plan.

You know the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Even if you can eek by without planning, imagine how much more could you get done with healthy living if you plan. You save time, you’re more clear on your goals, and you’re more likely to stick to them when you feel like bailing.

Learn how to meal plan like a boss.  Meal planning makes grocery shopping much more efficient (saving you time and money), and keeps your mind set on eating healthy.

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 3

Week 3: Move to the rhythm of the work out

Turn something dreadful into something less dreadful.  Let’s face it, you may not feel like working out at all.  It’s tiring, takes up time or uncomfortable.  It’s OK.  Do it anyway.

Use music as a distraction and it can make your workouts more fun.  Think of some of your favorite songs, create a play list, and I dare you not to move to them!

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 4

Week 4’s challenge was all about meditation.

While I love yoga, I could never seem to get into meditation. My brain is constantly thinking, moving from one idea to the next. Trying to control or stop my thoughts seems like the opposite of what I am supposed to do.

However, after trying to give my self 1 to 5 minutes every morning to just do nothing, I could see how it helped me feel more positive and energized for a great day. I got a real boost to my health and happiness.

I wrote an article published on US News: Health, check it out, it talks more about Mediation and how and why you should try it.

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 5

Are you dying to know? Sign up for the challenge and you’ll see what’s up my sleeve next.

Creating New Healthy Habits, Part 2

Change? Who has time for change?


Now that we’re exiting February and approaching March, I have to ask, “how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along?” I’m sorry. I’m only half kidding…

We all have the best intentions when we create those resolutions, don’t we? Exercise more, eat less, sleep more, spend less, and the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is that we are all want to do better! But so many of us just can’t seem to find the time or don’t know how to get started. (hint, the goals are way too unrealistic for your brain to go along for the ride).

So if you bagged on your resolutions already, that’s alright. You’re like the other 65% of Americans (probably higher than that). Now you are ready for the real change. Putting effort into habits that will stick with you.

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about a podcast in which Dr. Christine Carter discusses eight steps to building healthy habits. If you haven’t read it yet, go back and read it. Do it now. I’ll wait.

In that blog, I covered Dr. Carter’s first four steps of her change process and also included a link to her second podcast, which includes the last four steps.

The more and more I thought about, though, I felt that just didn’t do the last four steps enough justice. So I’m going to discuss her last four steps here in more detail. Yeah, it’s THAT important!

So here they are: the last four steps in Part II of the podcast, Getting in Good Habits.

How to Change Your Habits (part 2)

 (5) Pick a super-easy first step. Now we aren’t talking about a goal like, “exercise more.” Because that is not only non-specific,  but it also can be super intimidating. So Dr. Carter suggests picking a teeny tiny first step, something that will literally take less than 30 seconds. And even if you’re tempted to jump to the next step immediately after this one, don’t!  Trust me – if you do this step over and over again, your brain will eventually recognize it as a new habit.

You can do it challenge: Decide what that “teeny tiny” first step will be. (and let me know about it in the comments) I challenge you to think what is the LEAST you can do to change the habit and work with that first then move on. 

For example, if you tend to eat when you aren’t hungry. Many of my clients deal with eating when bored, stressed, or feeling emotional on some level. Your first step should not be “stop emotional eating” (LOL!) If you knew how to do it, you would already be there. But the first step may be. Spend 30 seconds thinking about the choice, asking if I am hungry, bored, or just interested in eating. Asking would I eat this at a table with no TV or other distractions. Then, decide. Taking that crucial “pause” can be short – just 30 seconds – and even if you still want to eat something, maybe you do and maybe you don’t. But the point is, you started asking question. See what I mean?

(6)  Anchor your first step. Instead of creating a whole new schedule for your first step, try anchoring that step into an existing routine. Dr. Carter uses the example of flossing. If you’re already in the habit of brushing your teeth, maybe that teeny tiny first step is getting the floss out with your toothpaste.

I love that idea… again with the emotional eating example, you could start brushing your teeth immediately after dinner and getting water or herbal tea to give your hands something to do while you watch TV – and hey, it’s hydrating! Two-for-one. Another idea is to anchor getting a drink to walking into the kitchen and then taking your 30 second pause to figure out why you are there — physical hunger or emotional hunger?

(7) Visualize success. This might sound unnecessary, but believe me…it’s critical; the whole point of these steps is to rewire your brain into recognizing a new habit. So spend just a few minutes actually thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’ll feel once you reach your goal. It’s okay, you can revel a bit. 🙂

Also important in this step is thinking about what some potential obstacles are and how you’ll overcome them if they actually happen. For example, let’s say your goal is meditation. What will you do if the phone rings in the middle of your meditation time?

Obstacles are a big thing with emotional eating, I suggest anticipating the types of obstacles you face and plan a healthy and sustainable work around. (If you need help, see a therapist or RD like me who specializes in Intuitive Eating and/or disordered eating patterns.)

(8) Celebrate! Every single time you do this super-easy first step, it’s time to celebrate! You don’t literally need to throw yourself a party everyday, but giving yourself a mental high-five is a good practice to have; it reinforces your habit and goshdarnit, it feels good.

You can do it challenge: Decide what that teeny tiny first step will be. (and let me know about it in the comments)

So, it’s cold. You hate the gym. You’re busy. But you want to incorporate exercise into your life. Somehow. How do you get started? Well, what’s the tiniest step you can think of? Maybe that step is putting sneakers by the front door with your work shoes. Or maybe on your walk to lunch you add another 30 seconds by taking a slightly different route. Or maybe instead of changing into the usual casual outfit after work, you change into workout clothes instead. Or maybe it’s something else. But whatever it is, make sure it’s small, easily achievable, and something you can celebrate once it’s done (because let’s be honest, you’ve got this!).

Anyone can do something for 30 seconds, right? So, let’s start there. The only thing you have to remember is to start small and practice that ridiculously small step over and over again. After all, practice makes…perfect-ly healthy habits. 🙂 If you follow these steps mindfully, your brain will join you in partnership…I promise!

You can do this!

What’s your habit goal and first step? Tell me in the comments below.


Creating New Healthy Habits (With all the spare time you have)

“I’ll take time for myself… As soon as I finish my endless list of other To Dos.”

dali-clockSound like you? Well, it sure sounds like me and pretty much all of my clients! We have all the right intentions to make healthy change in our lives, but feel we just don’t have the time to do it. I wanted to figure out how we can “crack the code” on what it takes to build a healthy habit and if there was any way to make it feel effortless (or at least not difficult) in as little time as possible. Five minutes is a good place to start, I thought.

As it turns out, habits are really subconsciously controlled by your brain so they really are effortless once they are true habits. Until then, you have to think about it.

Getting in Good Habits

I found this podcast with Rona Renner, R.N. and Dr. Christine Carter discuss the benefits of taking just five minutes of time for yourself – whether it be for making a healthy meal, stretching, meditation, getting a glass of water or another healthy activity you can do in 5 minutes.

In it, they share eight steps to make healthy activities, habits. Here are the first four steps found in Part I of the podcast, Getting in Good Habits.

(1)  Contemplation. Think about what you want to change. It sounds simple enough, but not enough of us take the time to think about what will truly make a healthy difference in our lives.

(2)  Do your homework. How are you going to do this? Do you need new supplies to do this change. Taking time to prepare yourself for change. If you take a little bit of time to research what it takes to actually make this change, you’ll be more prepared to make long-lasting change. Make a list of all the things that will get in your way.

(3)  Set your goal, and make it public. No one can make real change alone; everyone needs some sort of support, right? So tell your spouse, children, friends, and coworkers. Not only will it hold you more accountable to yourself, but you’ll also get the added benefit of having a support system all along the way.

(4)  Make a list of what will help you succeed. By breaking down your change into small steps, you’ll increase your odds of success. Start small, and build up, as they say. So if you have a goal of taking time for yourself for meditation, maybe start with 30 seconds to a minute.

You can do it challenge: Start today. Pick just one thing that you want to change to make your life healthier and happier. (and let me know about it in the comments)

Remember, change starts in tiny, tiny steps. Imagine the absolute LEAST you can do. That’s your starting point. Anyone can make a small change for the better. Even those of us who put our pants on inside out, skip flossing most days, and can’t seem to get laundry done. (I know I’m not alone in this.) dead_last_not_start

Just with any skill, forming habits takes practice.  No one wakes up, decides they want to run a marathon for the first time, and goes outside and does it. My first race was a 5K, not a marathon. That race started with a work “bootcamp” class with some jogging thrown in.

Your exercise starting point might be walking – even if “just” around the block. Then you might run around the block.  You’ll continue to move towards your goal in achievable, realistic steps until you’re comfortable with the idea of running an entire marathon…and then one day, you’ll do it!

This habit is just like any other one you want to change in your life. Start small…teeny tiny, in fact! Then make those small changes habit by practicing them over and over again. And then move to the next small change.

Let’s Do This!!!!

Want to listen to the whole podcast and get all eight steps? Here it is: Getting in Good Habits Part One, Part Two

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Move That Body

Happy HolidaysHello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.blog_mailSignup

Move That Body

Think about the worst possible thing you could do for your health.  What comes to mind?  For me, it’s smoking cigarettes.  Shockingly, being physically inactive is just as dangerous as smoking!  The scary impact that being sedentary can have on your health is just the first of many reasons to move that body – physical activity also improves your ability to manage stress, helps you feel happier, and increases energy.  All of those benefits are extra important during the holiday season, but physical activity often falls by the wayside in favor of crossing another item of the to-do list.

Living an active life is an important ingredient of living a healthy life, especially when you’re time-crunched.  Instead of stressing about how you can possibly squeeze in a workout, find ways to incorporate movement into your everyday routine.

You Can Do It Challenge:  Add physical activity into at least one activity each day to reap all the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of moving your body.

Add in Active Movement Anytime, Anywhere

I know it’s hard to find time for physical activity when you’re pressed for time, but you can literally make just about any activity more, well, active!  Folding laundry?  Keep the clothes basket on the floor and add in a squat (with correct form of course – click here for a how-to) between each piece of clothing.  Putting away groceries?  Lunge through the kitchen as you put each item away (once again, correct form is key – here’s your how-to).

Photo credit: violetsage.wordpress.com

Photo credit: violetsage.wordpress.com

You can get extra movement in things you are already doing.  Instead of shooting someone an email, deliver the message in person. Change your desk meeting into a walk and talk meeting to fit in work and movement at the same time.

If you’re one of those people who work through your lunch, what if you ran an errand and took your lunch break to enjoy yourself instead of slogging through that hour?  You’ll get some physical activity AND self-care, both of which will help you be more productive in the long-run.

Going through a seemingly endless inbox?  Stand on one foot while you check those emails, alternating feet with each message, to challenge your strength and balance.

Be Your Own People Mover

Use your body as a vehicle to run errands on foot. Instead of driving to the store, walk!  Think of the pros: it’s better for the environment, better for your health, and saves gas money.  If walking to the store isn’t an option, park as far from the door as possible to get an extra bit of walking in.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.  You’ll get weekly emails, along with my free guide to making over your kitchen with healthy food staples.


Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c