How to turn your post-holiday chores into a workout

Getting your heart rate up and burning a few calories doesn’t have to be a chore in the post-holiday aftermath. It can actually be part of your chores — if you have fun with it.

“When you’re washing dishes, you could try doing some calf raises, or when you’re vacuuming, you could do some lunges,” said Dr. Jennifer Gourdin, a family medicine and primary care sports medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente. “You could also do some countertop or wall pushups when you’re cleaning the countertops and other surfaces.”

Gourdin said it’s easy to turn cleanup into something beneficial, without feeling like you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym.

“I think these tips are often things that I even try to do myself as a working mom, when I can’t … exercise as much as I would like, to just kind of push myself through my day-to-day chores,” she told WTOP.

She said it could be as easy as sweeping or mopping more aggressively while doing holiday cleaning to work several muscle groups such as arms, shoulders and back.

Gourdin also said any kind of movement is the key to cure post-holiday lethargy. And if you still have relatives around or are visiting someone else, get creative.

“Maybe you pick up a case of water a couple of times and do some squats with that, or a small infant or toddler relative perhaps,” she said.

“Have a little mini dance party right inside your home,” she said. “And that’s a great way, fun way that can involve your whole family that can get your heart rate up.”

Gourdin told WTOP her post-holiday message is simple: take it at your own pace.

Even just 20 or 30 minutes of light movement can help burn a few calories without overextending yourself, she said. Those 30 or so minutes of movement can also improve cardiovascular health and help you get a jump-start on those New Year’s resolutions, she added.

“Ease into it,” she said. “Part of setting realistic goals is about doing the little things, building up, until you’re ready to tackle 2024 full force.”

Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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