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Spring clean yourself slim!

Can't find time to get to the gym? Did you know you can burn almost 200 calories by just vacuuming the carpets for 60 minutes, or 174 calories with a spot of dusting? Get house and body proud with these tricks…

Woman with a vacuum cleaner (© Getty Images)

With women spending an average of 16 hours a week doing housework, it makes sense to turn it into a workout - the phrase "killing two birds with one stone" springs to mind. Of course, chores can be right bores, which is why we need to make it fun if we're expected to curb those pesky calories. What could be more invigorating than some extreme hoovering? Or dancing off your last doughnut with a spot of disco dusting?Vacuum lunges

That's right, it's one of the best calorie crunchers - with one hour's vacuuming burning around 194 calories. And factor in some lunges while you're at it and you'll be toning your rear and thighs simultaneously, while getting that all important heart rate up for a full-on cardio workout.

So, rather than just pushing and pulling the hoover across the carpet, when you push the vacuum forward, take a step with your right leg, shifting most of your weight onto the right foot and keeping your left food in place.

Bend your right hip and knee, lowering your body to the floor until your thigh is parallel to the floor – just like a regular lunge you'd do at the gym. Repeat round the room, alternating legs.

Bingo-wing busters

Working away around 174 calories in an hour, dusting's not only an essential part of getting your house guest-ready, but it could be your new BFF for getting your bod beach-ready. The key to making more of this chore is to use bigger, wider circling motions as you dust, using your entire arm from shoulder to hand. Or to really feel the burn, opt for a tin of wax polish rather than a spray. Keep wiping over that worktop until your arm starts to tire, then swap. The result? Shiny new surfaces and the kind of toned arms even Michelle Obama would be proud of.

Woman with a duster (© Getty Images)

Core clench 'n' clean

Time to tackle the kids' room! Position yourself in a plank, with your shoulders directly over your hands and the rest of your body in a straight line, with toes touching the floor. Squeeze your bottom and brace your core for best results (ie, absolutely fabulous abs!).

Once you feel balanced, lift one hand and stretch it to pick up a toy off the floor, without twisting your body to one side, then place or throw into the correct toy box. Do the same using your other hand this time, and keep alternating until all toys are out of reach. The same exercise can work in any room, so what are you waiting for?  

Sneaky squats

Here's an exercise for the more adventurous cleaner - toilet squats! With the seat down and a generous squirt of bleach getting to work on the basin, use the next few minutes waiting for it to work wisely.

For a deep thigh workout, stand over the toilet seat, then gently lower yourself into a squat, stopping short of sitting on the seat. Hold, then gently resume the standing position. Repeat 20 times, then flush the loo for a final flourish!

Bin-bag bicep curls

No one likes taking the rubbish out, but at least with this bicep-boosting twist you'll get something more out of it. As you lug the bin bags outside, raise your hands to meet your shoulders, keeping a good grip on the bags and your back straight to avoid any unnecessary strain. Repeat the bicep curls - either alternating arms or curling in sync if you have two bags to take out - until you reach the wheelie bin.

Broom thrusts

Grab that broom from the corner of the room and realise its potential as your latest gym equipment! With this little exercise, not only will your floors finally be spick and span, your glutes, legs and shoulders will be benefitting too. Standing with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and holding the broom level with your chest, simultaneously squat and push the broom above head height. Hold for a moment, then lower the broom and return to a standing position. Repeat as many times as you like.

Woman ironing (© Getty Images)

Get laundry leaner

Next time you have a mountain or ironing to tackle, try this simple tip for getting leaner legs and loosening up those stiff joints. Keep your laundry on the floor in the basket, rather than on a table - this way you'll have to stretch and bend to pick up each individual garment, rather than reaching across for it.

Make sure you keep your back straight when bending over, and really work those thighs. Add in the fact that ironing alone burns off around 113 calories in an hour, and you've got yourself a winning workout..  

Shake your tail feather(duster)!

Get warmed up before you work out,  and keep the beats coming during your housework-out (an hour's worth of dancing can see off over 200 calories) - some uptempo tunes will get those feel-good endorphins rushing to your head, making cleaning to the beat fun rather than something to dread.

Make sure you also cool down afterwards with five minutes more dancing - this time using smaller, slower movements to relax the muscles. If you're lucky, the rest of the family will see how much fun cleaning can be and they'll all want to get involved. That's the plan, anyway...



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