If your life is too hectic to balance housework and a trip to the gym, combine your exercise with mopping to make the most of your time. Thirty minutes of mopping will burn 188 calories calories for a 175-pound man while a 135-pound woman will burn 145 calories. While you're mopping, you can incorporate other exercises to create a circuit-training session that provides cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening benefits.
Effective Leg-Strengthening Exercises
Put on some motivating music and really exaggerate your mopping movements to work as many muscles as possible. Switch your hands regularly so both sides of your body get an equal workout. If you have a staircase, set your mop aside for a moment, and climb up and down the stairs for one to two minutes. Step-ups during which you step on and off the bottom step of the staircase can also effectively work the muscles in your legs and buttocks, as can lunges and squats, which you can do while holding the mop handle or staircase banister for balance. Perform at least 10 repetitions of the exercises of your choice, and rest 15 to 30 seconds in between them. Just be sure to exercise on the stairs before you mop them -- performing these exercises on wet stairs is dangerous.
Essential Core-Strengthening Exercises
Pushing and pulling a mop across the floor in different directions challenges your core to stabilize and balance your body. To really fire up your core, stop mopping for a moment and find a carpeted part of the room or a dry area where you can set a yoga mat. Get down on your forearms and toes in a plank position, keeping your body aligned from head to toe. Try holding this pose for up to one minute, and then rest for about 30 seconds. You can also do side planks to target the sides of your waist by holding your body up on one forearm and the side of one foot.
Challenging Chest-Strengthening Exercises
As you continue to mop the floor between exercises, stop for a moment to do pushups on a dry section of the floor. Pushups work your chest, and although they might look deceptively easy, they can be challenging. Luckily they can be modified to meet your fitness level. During pushups your palms and toes are holding your body up while it's straight as a plank. You then bend your elbows 90 degrees to lower your body, and extend them to push yourself back to the starting point. If you can't do full pushups, do pushups on your knees, or place your hands on an elevated surface, such as the kitchen counter. Another easier version are wall pushups, in which you do pushups against a wall while standing upright. For a greater challenge, do pushups while your feet rest on an elevated platform, such as the couch or the seat of a sturdy chair. After 10 reps, continue mopping and move on to the next exercise.
Powerful Arm-Strengthening Exercises
When you're mopping the kitchen floor, make your way to the pantry or refrigerator and look for some cans or bottles that can double as dumbbells. Perform exercises for your biceps and triceps with them. For examples, do curls during which you bend your elbows while keeping them tucked into your sides, and raise the cans or bottles up to your shoulders. You can also bend forward while keeping your elbows tucked next to your sides, and then press the makeshift weights back to extend your arms and target your triceps. You can even get a shoulder workout in, by doing overhead presses by extending your arms up and pressing the weights overhead.
About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.