By Yumi Miyaki/Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterWouldn’t it be nice if you could get exercise at same time as cleaning the house? Mami Seita, who runs a house cleaning service company, recommends such a way of cleaning, saying that it is suitable for people who don’t have spare time because they are too busy doing household chores.
She has been proposing “Bi Soji,” which means making your body beautiful and healthy by cleaning the rooms in your house.
“Becoming conscious about moving your body can turn house cleaning into very hard physical exercise,” Seita said.
The basic move Seita recommends is to move your body slowly while paying attention to the muscles you’re using while cleaning.
One example is vacuuming floors. Recently, vacuums that are lighter have become available, so users can easily vacuum with only one hand. But it can be beneficial to use your vacuum in a way that uses the muscles in your legs and back.
To do this, straighten your back, place one leg in front of the other so that the knee is bent, shift the weight of your body forward and backward, and move the head of the vacuum.
Push the vacuum head forward for a distance that is roughly half of your body height, and then strongly pull the head back while shifting your body weight backward.
Push forward for four seconds and pull back for four seconds. By doing so at a slower pace, you can firmly engage the muscles in your legs.
In addition, straighten your elbow when you push the vacuum head forward, and powerfully pull it back while paying attention to your shoulder blades so you can engage the muscles in your back.
Repeat these actions while switching the vacuum hose from your right and left hands every few minutes. If you use a canister vacuum cleaner, do not place the main body of the cleaner on the floor but hold it in one hand and the vacuum hose in the other to work your muscles more.
Wiping workout for shaping up
When wiping windows and tables, you can get good exercise to help shape up your upper arms and waist just by changing your moves and posture.
Extend the arm of the hand holding the cloth upward and put the cloth on the window. Next, if your right hand is holding the cloth, wipe the glass to the right horizontally. If your left hand is holding the cloth, wipe to the left.
When your hand stops, slide it down a little and then switch the cloth to the other hand and repeat the same actions.
While doing this, shift your body weight from the left foot to the right and vice versa, coinciding with the movement of your hands.
Seita said that wiping tables is also effective for shaping up the waist.
Stand with your back to the table and extend your arm with the hand holding a cleaning cloth to the far side of the table. While keeping your back straight and twisting the lower back, wipe the table from the far side toward you, repeatedly drawing shapes that resemble square brackets.
When your hand reaches your body, switch to the other hand and continue to wipe in the same way.
During these actions, firmly do the basic move of pressing down on the cloth with your palm to increase the workout on your muscles.
“During both wiping exercises, don’t hold your breath, and move slowly while paying attention to your muscles,” Seita said.
Crouching also effective
Nowadays, people who wipe the floor while crouching may be in the minority. But Seita said: “Wiping floors in a way that puts a heavy burden on the muscles in your hips and thighs is like doing squats. If you feel like you are lacking in exercise, why don’t you try it?”
The point is to not crouch deeply, but to do the wiping with the lower back slightly raised.
Holding this posture, hold a cleaning cloth in one hand, press the cloth down on the floor and wipe the floor in a way where you use your shoulder muscles when you move right and left.
Coinciding with the movement of your arm, shift your body weight from the right leg to the left and vice versa.
Spend four seconds moving your hand to the right, and four seconds to the left. By moving slowly in this way, it increases the workout on your muscles. Switch hands while you’re doing the wiping. After finishing wiping with a wet cloth, wipe with a dry cloth in the same manner.
Brushing away dust from high places such as curtain rails and the top of doors is effective in shaping up your calves.
Hold a duster in one hand, stand with your feet slightly apart and stand on your toes. Hold this posture and extend your hand with the duster to remove dust and move your body in the same direction as the duster while standing on your toes.
Repeat this action while wiping away dust from side to side again.