life: super powers not included

Fit and Clean. Or Clean and Fit.

Cleaningphoto by melissa ann barrett

All right, guys. We’ve had some fun the past couple of days, but now it’s back to my serious posts. (Don’t laugh. I can be serious sometimes.)

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you may have gathered that I’m a bit of a neat freak. The Man says I have a psychological disorder, but I’m not that OCD. So I like my closet color-coordinated and the labels on my spices all facing the same direction. I think it makes me organized, not psycho. I’ll let you judge silently from the other side of the Internet.

Anyhow, I’m also a big fan of cleaning in general. (That’s a bummer for The Man who has to do the heavy lifting, vacuuming, and other major cleaning since my knees hate me. I give him major props for that.) So I was interested to read about a study that found a connection between having a clean house and being fit. The findings, which researcher NiCole Keith presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, could mean one of two things:

  • Fit people clean a lot.
  • Cleaning can make you fit.

The study didn’t determine a cause and effect. The researchers just compared the fitness level of nearly 1,000 African Americans with the state of their homes. The homes with spick and span interiors had residents who got more physical activity.

You could say that some of the participants were so well off that they hired housekeepers to keep their homes shining while they plugged away at the gym. But since the study subjects had similar backgrounds and came from two areas of the same city, I think that isn’t likely the real cause.

The study might not give a definite answer, but I have to say: Cleaning, it’s hard work. Sure, if you’re already fit you’ll have an easier time crouching, lifting, and otherwise detail cleaning your home. But if you’re out of shape—it’s a good way to get a total body workout.

Not counting those activities I can’t do because of my knees, washing the windows gives my arms, upper back, and shoulders a good workout.

What household chore do you count as exercise?

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22 comments

1 Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) { 06.08.10 at 7:56 am }

I’m a neat freak 80% of the time. My closet? Immaculate! My living room? Perfect! My kitchen? That’s another story. It’s clean but I own every kitchen gadget on the planet so let’s just say the cupboards could stand to be organized. I’d rather go to the gym than clean those suckers out! ;-)

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2 FoodFitnessFreshair { 06.08.10 at 8:00 am }

This is a good study with unsurprising results. Cleaning can definitely be a workout! Other than tidying up the garden (big workout there), just things like vacuuming can definitely add a lot of exercise in my life. For instance, I don’t really vacuum when I’m feeling tired…really I don’t really vacuum enough, even when I am feeling good!

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3 charlotte { 06.08.10 at 9:09 am }

What if I’m a fit AND a clean freak living with 5 of the messiest people on the planet?? My house always looks like a bomb went off. I actually just had a A Talk with the fam last night about how they must help with the cleaning. I don’t know that that counts as fitness but it sure got my heart rate up:(

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Tracey Reply:

All the more fitness for you. You get to clean four times. It’s like when The Man throws his junk all over the house and I get to pick it up. I know he just does it to help me stay fit. (*eye roll*)

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4 Lindsey @ Foodie on the Rocks { 06.08.10 at 9:21 am }

Mowing the lawn! I always save it for a day I’m not working out.

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Tracey Reply:

Oh, that’s a good one. I don’t have a lawn, so I didn’t even think of that. I think you get bonus points if you live on a hill.

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5 Heather C { 06.08.10 at 9:43 am }

I have two little boys and a three level house. When I hit my limit on mess and I try to return everything to it’s rightful place trekking up and down the three levels gives me a workout.

I am a total neat freak too. My roommates in college used to amuse themselves by going into my room, moving one thing and taking bets on how quickly I would notice the item out of place. That being said, motherhood has loosened my standards considerably. I still notice when things aren’t in their proper place but easily get distracted by a child tying the dogs legs together or standing on the back of the couch. I consider this all my own immersion type OCD therapy.

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6 Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly { 06.08.10 at 9:46 am }

Yeah…I definitely consider mopping to be a workout!!! I hate it!!! haha!!

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7 Samantha @ Food Edu { 06.08.10 at 11:16 am }

Working in the yard totally counts for a work out! The pushing of the lawn mower, bending down, etc–I did a lot of it over the weekend and I am sore!

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8 Ameena { 06.08.10 at 12:36 pm }

I am a neat freak as you likely already know. My closet is probably a mirror of yours! But I can’t lie, I do have a housekeeper come once a week to do most of the hard stuff. So my housekeeping exercise probably comes from cleaning the kitchen which is constantly in a state of disarray, thanks for the fact I live with 2 slobs!

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9 Nicole, RD { 06.08.10 at 12:41 pm }

No wonder I battle the bulge…

I am pretty good about a clean kitchen. But other than that, I’m a mess and everything I touch becomes a mess. You’d go nuts in my spice cabinet!

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10 Nichole { 06.08.10 at 1:43 pm }

It’s a fair excuse to try to get me to clean harder. I guess when they said elbow grease they were on to something!

Next time I push that broom I think happily about burning calories.

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11 theemptynutjar { 06.08.10 at 2:10 pm }

i am shamed to admit i havent cleaned my bathroom since i moved in….i have to move again in less than 2 weeks…but still – gross much?
other than that i do nothing really – my meal preparation is my busy-ness…washing the dishes counts, i guess.

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12 Mary (A Merry Life) { 06.08.10 at 2:13 pm }

Interesting! I definitely can see how there would be a relationship between being fit and cleaning. Cool.

I definitely count mopping and mowing the grass as exercise.

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13 Nicole { 06.08.10 at 7:42 pm }

Awwww, I’ve been feeling out of shape and my house has been a bit messy as of late. I am now totally convinced that there may be a link… You can bet that I will be cleaning the house this weekend, ’cause I ‘m going shopping on Friday. And I want those clothes to fit! ;)

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14 Tami { 06.08.10 at 8:02 pm }

I think all of it is good exercise. I have a two story house and all those trips up and down those stairs every day add up. My daughter cleaned houses one summer and her upper arms got so buff from all the cleaning, it was an awesome work out!

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15 Katie@peacebeme { 06.08.10 at 8:45 pm }

I always tell people I love cleaning and they think I am weird. But scrubbing bathrooms and vacumming are good physical activity in my book!

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16 Wei-Wei { 06.08.10 at 9:00 pm }

Anything that gets me off my ass would be “exercise” to me. I spend waaaay too much time on my computer and my mom was incredibly happy when she found me OFF my ass and organising my study! Miracle of miracles! :D

Wei-Wei

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17 Alex @ IEatAsphalt { 06.08.10 at 9:50 pm }

This is a semi-embarrasing fact about me, but my current roommate is convinced that I will never be able to live with another person because I am such a clean freak. Dirty dishes, hair on the bathroom floor, crumbs on the counter… I freak out. And my t-shirts are organized by cut and color. Maybe I am a weirdo?

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18 Lauren @ She's a Runner { 06.08.10 at 10:21 pm }

I used to be a neat freak, but I think it’s easier to succumb to that when you have time and energy. Since I have neither, I’ve become a bit of a cluttered mess. The mess does seriously bother me…I’ll never be the type of person who is comfortable with things being out of place. But lately I can trick myself into thinking my place is clean by shoving stuff in the closet. I figure it’s better than nothing.

I get the most workout taking out my recycling…I tend to let the stuff pile up and then I have to make at least 3 trips out of the building to the recycling bins.

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19 Anne @ the doctor takes a wife { 06.09.10 at 11:12 am }

I feel like vacuuming definitely counts as cardio. I’m always sweating by the time I’m done moving things around and cruising around the casa.

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20 Sophia { 06.11.10 at 12:29 pm }

I definitely think that any type of serious cleaning is a workout. The best thing is that you’re getting a two for one. You’re doing your chores and it’s a Great Workout Idea!

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