Seasonal Chores as Exercise

Seasonal Chores as Exercise


Dr Bret WilsonThe seasons are changing and seasonal chores are on everyone’s mind, moving from summer to fall. Our activities change with the seasons. Cooler weather may change the type of chores to be done around the house and in the yard. These household chores are physical activity and a form of exercise. If you approach your seasonal projects with this in mind, you will not only get projects done, but get your body in better shape.

Warm up. Most people understand the importance of warm up prior to exercise or an athletic activity. The physical activity of household chores makes the same to be true. Before cleaning out the garage, raking the yard or chopping some fire wood, warm up. Warm up should increase blood flow to the muscles and joints, and prepare them for movement and work. Repetitive low stress movements are the best way also known as Dynamic Warm-up. Take a walk first, to get the heart pumping and get your breathing going. Make repeated movements, low force, slow and methodical to start things moving.   A warm up of 10 to 15 minutes prior to activity reduces risk of injury and allows better function.

Plan the job and divide it into smaller manageable parts. Think about the project you plan to do and be reasonable in your expectation of what you can get done and how to do it. Think again in terms of physical activity, exercise or an athletic event. If you have not performed push-ups in months or years, you would not try 100 pushups the first day. You would gradually get into shape over time. Often we take on a job and we spend too long getting the project done instead of being reasonable in our expectation of what we can get done without exhaustion. Dividing the job into parts, and stopping for the day before you overdo it can help avoid prolonged days of recovery. The project may take longer but you will not lose time on recovery.

Hydrate before, during and after the project. Hydration is important for exercise and household chores. Have plenty of water to stay hydrated; do not wait till you are thirsty to get a drink.  Consume small amounts of water throughout the project. Limit consumption of caffeine, sugar and alcohol as they add to dehydration.

Post activity cool down, stretch and rest. Plan your activity to allow for time to properly cool down your body, and help rest and recover faster.  Mild movement and stretching can help slowly move the body to rest. After your shower, apply ice to joints that may be sore or have been used repeatedly. This may include knees, shoulders and areas of the back. Application of an ice pack for 15 minutes can reduce pain and swelling later.

So get more done without beating yourself up. Warm up for physical activity like you getting ready to play a game. Plan your project activity to set appropriate limits to the stress and strain your body will take. Plan appropriate time for the project, rest breaks and cool down after the day’s work. Stay hydrated. Use these tips and you not only get the projects done but you will be getting healthy exercise at the same time.

Yours in Health,


Bret A. Wilson, DC