Whistle While You Work

I now exercise while I do housework.

Photo Credit: Solomon Hsu

Photo Credit: Solomon Hsu

It came with the onslaught of Vancouver’s usual November downpours. I got really depressed. The Ultimate Frisbee season was over and I could rarely find time to go for jogs. All other forms of exercise were either too expensive or got too annoying (read: Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos). Other moms out there will attest to how tricky it is to snatch an hour away from your family for a workout. Dragging me out of bed at 6am for a morning workout is also like trying to rouse a sleeping hippo — not an option.

When I actually found time to exercise, it happened to be raining; and when the sun was out, I happened to be too busy to exercise. What a bummer.

But I have stumbled upon a solution. You see, my entrepreneurial brother has been teaching me that every problem can be turned into an opportunity. I had a problem. I felt fat and ugly, a little old and very flabby. The opportunity? (evil glimmer in my eye – Julia rubs her hands together in glee)

Drumroll please. Everybody, I ‘d like you to meet Julia’s new fitness concept: SPEED-CLEANING and ACTIVE COOKING.

I wonder if anyone else out there in the wide world of the internet has come up with this idea. I bet you could market it. Somewhere in the last 7 years of motherhood, I figured out that I have to clean. And I have to cook. I lament that I have no choice in this matter – my husband is inept at both of these duties.

I always feel like I’m sacrificing my “me” time (eg my exercise time) to cook and clean. Then one day, I had a random Eureka moment: I can simply combine it all. I don my yoga pants, tank top and exercise bra, pull my hair back, and I go about cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, wiping, cooking AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. I add lunges, jumps, kick-boxing moves, stretches and leaps in between. Dem Buttermilk-cornmeal dumplings with fresh parsley and chicken stew? Ya baby – cooked by a woman jogging on the spot.

It’s quite the spectacle and I usually get most of my workout just laughing at myself flying through the house at break-neck speed. But hey, laughter is the best core workout out there.

How’s that for killing two birds with one stone? The house sparkles (well not really) and my family is well-fed (kind of – vegetables are still really hard to sneak into their systems). When I do my speed-clean and active-cook routines, I actually break a sweat and I’m sure my heart-rate hits that target zone. I’ll update ya’ll at the end of winter to see whether or not I manage to keep it up throughout Vancouver’s rainy season.

This post was first published in November 2009. You will be happy to learn that I did not after all manage to keep it up through Vancouver’s rainy season. But the attitude shift was permanent. I now view all cleaning and cooking duties as welcome physical activity rather than as a drag. Hurrah innovative thinking!

Are you a closet-depressive turned multi-tasking optimist like me? Share your thoughts below!

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