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Doing household chores can be surprisingly strenuous, and what starts as a quick clean-up can sometimes leave you feeling like you’ve slogged your way through a hard-core gym session, thanks to your sore muscles and joints. Here’s how to avoid those aches…
1. Start with a gentle warm-up
It might sound silly, but you should warm up before doing any activity for more than around 20 minutes. Try doing some dynamic stretches to wake up your muscles. For example, make big circles with your arms in both directions, kick out your legs and reach down towards your toes and then up towards the sky.
2. Dance with the vacuum
Cleaning those carpets can be the most strenuous part of the housework. Repeatedly leaning forwards as you move a heavy vacuum cleaner across the floor can be a killer for your lower back.
So instead of bending forward at the waist, step into the movement so your front leg is supporting you – like a light lunge – then bring your leg back to meet your other one, pulling the vacuum back with you.
To make it fun, swing your hips as you do it and alternate stepping forwards with one leg with stepping back with the other – so it’s kind of like you’re doing the salsa. Now all you need is some Latin music and you’re away…
3. Use the golf pick-up
Have you ever noticed that whenever golfers pick up a ball, they lift one leg in the air? This is because it helps keep the back straight, preventing pain or the chances of twisting it.
So next time you drop that stray sock, support yourself on a nearby surface (golfers have their club) and lift one leg as you bend to pick it up to help keep your back happy.
If there isn’t a surface available, or you have a weak back, bend at your knees rather than at the waist, keeping your back straight.
4. Don’t stretch too much
If you’re reaching up to clean away cobwebs or dust high surfaces, use a stepladder to make sure you don’t pull any muscles by overstretching.
When you’re cleaning low surfaces, bend safely at the knees and don’t twist your back, or even better, grab a cushion to kneel on as you clean.
5. Use the right products
Good cleaning products should do a lot of the hard work for you, so you can keep scrubbing to a minimum.Make sure you use products that are specially designed for the task at hand. For example, your regular bathroom cleaner won’t work well when it comes to getting rid of limescale.
Viakal limescale remover however, easily dissolves the chalky residue left by hard water, so all you need to do is spray and wipe. For tougher spots, such as showerheads and tap faucets, simply leave it to work for a few minutes before wiping with a damp cloth.
6. Give yourself regular breaks
Cleaning the whole house can be a mammoth task, so approach it room by room, or task by task (i.e. surfaces, windows and mirrors, floors), and have a rest between each room or task.
Take 10 minutes to have a cup of tea, make a phone call or read a chapter of your book before setting off on the next step.
7. Do other regular exercise
The more often you use your muscles, the less likely they are to ache after an activity, and the less likely you are to hurt yourself. Yoga is great for improving your flexibility and balance, for example, so it’s perfect for helping you stay in shape for housework.
8. Enlist help from others
If you share your home with a partner and/or your children, the housework is not solely your responsibility and they should do their bit too. You can assign rooms of the house to family members, so it is their responsibility to clean them. Or perhaps give the youngsters the more labour-intensive tasks, such as vacuuming, changing the sheets and washing the windows.
They’re old enough to help now, so let them!
Do you have any tips for making the housework easier on you? Let us know in the comments section below.