Housework is NOT Exercise!

Today I am REALLY feeling that HIIT workout from yesterday! My glutes have been on FIRE! It doesn’t help that I’ve also been suffering from a little overuse injury in my right hip-knee from my worn out shoes. But today is yoga only day, so I decided to take it off from other forms of exercise. That doesn’t mean that I have to rule out physical activity.

What’s the Difference?

Well, a lot. Physical activity is any movement of the large muscle groups that causes caloric burn above resting levels. When you get up and walk across the room to refill your bowl of chips, that’s physical activity….ish. Exercise is a subgroup of physical activity. Exercise is those same large muscle movements that are planned, structured, and repeated, with the intent of improving one or more of the five components of physical fitness (body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility).

Physical activity is things like cleaning your house (read hilarious take on this at Fit is a Feminist Issue here). But, cleaning your house is not going to get you to burn enough calories, lift enough resistance, or get your heart rate up high enough to improve any of the first four. And I’m not even sure how you’d improve flexibility while cleaning your house unless you’re turning into Elastigirl and reaching behind your refridgerator instead of just pulling it out……because people do that you know.

Exercise requires a little bit more effort.

Why does this matter?
Because there are a lot of programs out there telling people that a little effort goes a long way. I agree. If you’re not currently getting up and moving around; do so! Now! Just know that it’s not all you need to do. I think it’s great to encourage people to get up and get moving, but let’s not sugar coat the results by telling people that they’ll lose weight and get in shape with a little dusting here and spraying there. So, what did I do on my “day off”? 
Mowed the Lawn

And it felt great! Lots of times I find that I have a lack of motivation as a stay at home mom when it comes to chores like cleaning or yard work. I love to have beautiful flowers….but hate to weed. Don’t like it when the shower turns pink, but don’t really enjoy the scrubbing. And, so much of it with a 4 year old and a 22 month old feels like the military: Hurry Up and Wait. There’s always something that I want to clean,  but need to wait for nap time to really be efficient at it. This often leads me to want to just take them out for a walk or run or bike ride in order to feel like I’m productive for the day, but that’s been leading to a little bit of a messy house and a little more over training.

Over training can be a common problem with fitness professionals; especially those of us who teach classes as well as workout on our own in the same day. This is the reason I’m cutting back on Tuesdays and next month I will be re-evaluating some of my other training choices. I haven’t hit too many of the real symptoms of over training yet…..mostly some sleep disturbance and the above mentioned overuse injury, but I also don’t want to get there any time soon.

So, while I encourage others to get up and get moving if you haven’t been, I also encourage those of us who’ve been moving a little too much to take a rest day. Try something different and a little lower key. (I’m going to finish up the day by cleaning my house before our Earth Day cookout tomorrow.) Or, do what I’m planning on doing tomorrow and just

How do you approach housework?
Has your training gotten out of control?
What was your last day of rest like?

2 thoughts on “Housework is NOT Exercise!

  1. I approach house work with a strictly as-needed attitude. If it's necessary, it gets done. If it's not…I do it when I feel like it. (which is usually almost never) Right now I've switched from going the gym 5-6 days a week, to working outside renovating our 2 acres of neglected landscaping, for about 2-4 hours a day most days, which is a whole different kind of sore. (Think: Pick ax, shovel, wheelbarrow kind of sore–thank God for the hot tub!) It's very weird to not be at the gym…the whole rhythm of making that a habit has gone out the window. Hopefully the yard/slave-labor work will end someday, and the gym will be a place I go again, instead of just a concept…My cold-weather day of rest is like this, every Sunday – hot chai, eat, knit, watch documentaries. Repeat. On warm weather days, I add in: lay in hammock with a Mike's and a book. I take my days off very, very seriously, lol. 😉


  2. I wish I could take my days off as seriously! Yesterday I ran around all day getting ready for our cookout and then spent the entire time carrying around and consoling my youngest during an unexpected meltdown. Maybe it will change when the boys get older and don't need me as much. I did enjoy a glass of wine and s'mores fireside after the littlest one passed out for the night…so, there's that! 🙂


Comments are closed.