Home // Men’s Health Tips // Get Active // DIY for the win! How chores double as exercise

DIY for the win! How chores double as exercise

by | Jun 18, 2019 | Eat Healthier, Get Active

Shelling out big bucks for repairs and renos is the BEST…said no guy ever.

We do our best to get things done around the house and yard — that trash isn’t going to take itself to the curb — but some jobs are best left to professionals. On that note, did you know that wasp nests should NOT be removed with golf clubs? Live and learn!

Allan Laplante, an Ottawa-based father of two, was all set to pay contractors to do a basement renovation. But that was before a medical scare motivated him to lose weight, get more active, and start eating healthier by making small, easy changes to his everyday life.

Starting with squats

For Allan, living healthier began with the simplest of exercises: Squats. “I knew I needed to start breaking a sweat and be more physically active, but at my weight the only thing I could do was squats,” Allan explains. “So I just started bending my knees and coming back up again. I did 10 squats while washing dishes, or preparing food, and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

As well as using squats to kick-start a return to the gym, Allan began parking further from where he was going and walking the difference, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Easy swaps get results

Two more small changes — snacking on almonds and walnuts, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day — have helped Allan quit smoking and drinking. “It keeps my mouth busy whenever I have a craving.”

Cutting out alcohol had an immediate effect. By shedding water-retention weight, Allan lost 27 pounds in just three weeks!

At the same time, he started eating less sugar and salt, and more fruits and vegetables. Allan’s healthy-eating secret weapon: The smoothie. “I wake up, have a coffee, and throw a bunch of plant-based proteins into a blender with some greens and strawberries, blueberries, bananas, whatever I have around. If it’s going bad, I throw it in!”

At dinner, Allan jazzes up vegetables like broccoli by grating Parmesan cheese on top, or adding a bit of hot sauce to brussels sprouts. “With some wild rice and lean chicken, fish or steak, these veggies taste amazing!”

DIY for the win!

Having dropped more than 50 pounds, Allan decided to tackle his basement reno himself. “Now, picking up a pack of 25 floorboards, and going up and down the stairs, aren’t issues for me. I can do the work myself and it’s a great workout, so why pay someone else to do it?”

Then again, he jokes, DIY dominance does have a dark side. “One of my neighbours said to me the other day, ‘I like what you did with your basement. Maybe you can come and do mine!’”

Household chores for the win!

As Allan points out, doing your own home renos saves money and doubles as exercise. The same goes for many household chores: By doing them more quickly or adding extra moves like squats and lunges, you can turn them into legitimate workouts. Here are some tips for turning five common man-chores into fitness routines:

Cleaning the eavestroughs:
Climbing ladders, scooping out leaf goo and raking it up actually burns around 320 calories an hour. Moving the ladder more frequently than usual, and climbing it more often, will boost that number significantly, as will climbing two rungs, descending one, climbing two, and so on. It may look like a scene from Mary Poppins, but who cares what the neighbours think when you have quads and shoulders like The Rock?
Shovelling:
Snow, soil, sand, whatever — swinging a shovel burns more than 400 calories an hour, and if you lift the load to chest height and hold it for 10 seconds it works all your major muscle groups: legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. It may take longer to get the job done, but your significant other will thank you all the more.
Painting:
Mr. Miyagi, the Karate Kid’s mentor, had it right: Whitewashing burns nearly 300 calories an hour. But does a painting project ever take just one hour? Do the math: A day of priming adds up to a serious workout. There may be ladders involved, too, and every time you rise up on your tip-toes to touch up some trim — hold it for a few extra seconds — the burn in your calves is doing them a lot of good. Fire off some squats every time you bend to dip your brush, and the gains keep coming.
Mowing the lawn:
Pushing a gas-powered mower burns 300-plus calories every hour. A manual mower, meanwhile, adds nearly 200 calories to that figure, and while you’re at it, throw in some lunges for good measure (and an extra 200 calories per hour).
Washing the car:
Pampering your beloved vehicle may not match the aforementioned tasks when it comes to calorie burn — it clocks in at around 290 per hour — but there’s plenty of potential to work lunges and squats into the mix. Turn up the Whitesnake, throw on a muscle shirt, invite your significant other to watch, and you never know: Your cheesy display could produce another kind of workout…

If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10 Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.

Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.

Do You Like This Blog?

As a national charity, we depend on your donations to provide our services to Canadians. Every contribution counts.

Your Donations Make a Difference

Donate

Your contribution will further men’s health programming, tool development, and research.

Don’t Change Much is a movement inspiring men and their families to lead healthier lives. With reliable information and easy tips, we know every guy and their family can make small changes that will have a big impact on their health.

More From

Eat Healthier | Get Active

You probably know someone with diabetes. Now get to know the disease!

You probably know someone with diabetes. Now get to know the disease!

Who would you say is the greatest Canadian of all time? The CBC TV series “The Greatest Canadian” put Tommy Douglas — aka the “Father of Medicare” — at the top of its 2004 list, just ahead of Terry Fox and Pierre Trudeau. No. 4, however, is a man whose name is less...

Bang it Out Tandoori Chicken

Eating to Prevent Diabetes with a South Asian Twist You’ve had a long day, you’re tired, and it’s dinner time. Walking into the kitchen, you smell that oh so familiar smell of homemade deliciousness, like Amritsari fish or aloo gobi. Whatever the dish, you’re happy...

How to Get Rid of Back Pain Simply by Sitting or Standing

Back pain is the best...said no guy ever. With four out of five Canadians suffering from severe back pain at some point in their lives, and with it flaring up most often in guys between the ages of 30 and 50, easy tips for nixing it are sorely needed (pun intended)....

Hello sex, goodbye back pain!

What do Charles “Huggy Bear” Huggins, Jack “The Hammer” Szostak, and Frederick “The Fredster” Banting all have in common? Besides being Canadian and having goofy nicknames, which we totally made up, all won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. If it were up to us, a team at...

What Bike Should You Get? Different Types of Bikes Explained

What Bike Should You Get? Different Types of Bikes Explained

So you’ve decided to take advantage of the many benefits of riding a bike. Well played, sir, well played. There’s only one tiny problem: you don’t own a bicycle or yours has collected dust and you’re curious to know if it’s still the right bike for you. We can help...

Let’s Talk!

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Salt is actually good for you – the right kind of salt though – sea salts or pink are good, white is bad.
    Keto diet and intermittent fasting also helps.
    Good article about making changes in different ways.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Let’s let go of the stereotype here though. It is glaring. Vacuuming, dusting, washing floors? All good exercise. What about childcare chores? Get involved, that’s the key and don’t limit yourself to the old ideas of “man chores”.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks Mark. As long as it is activity that gets the heart rate up is what is important. Suggest some childcare chores for other guys with children – it all helps.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our comments are moderated and are made live after they’ve been reviewed. If you disagree with anything in the article or comments please do let us know, but be polite so we can have a constructive discussion where everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Pin It on Pinterest