Making Chores Exercise

I have just started training for a half marathon race in October. While looking at my training schedule on Polar’s website (they make heart rate monitors and have a great educational and training section with personal calendar), I was reminded of the recovery workout.

The recovery workout is when you do some light exercise keeping your heart rate in the 55% to 65% of your max range. This type of workout helps your body recover faster than a total rest day. For running purposes, it also helps get your body used to the pounding of running.

These are nice relaxing workouts for me. After my workout though I went to was my car at one of those do-it-yourself car washes, and I was thinking, as I rushed to wash and save money, that this was actually a great little recovery session. I wished I was still wearing my heart rate monitor so I could have tracked what my heart rate actually was.

Either way, I know keeping your heart rate elevated by doing these types of activities is good for you. It is a bit similar to an easy or moderate hike. Having the heart rate elevated just enough (usually 50% to 69% of your maximum heart rate) is great for building endurance. If you are into to training you will understand that the ‘long run’ workout is typically done like this.

This got me thinking about something I did years ago when I first got my heart rate monitor. I used to have a place that I could play drums 24 hours a day. It was great. I played a lot. I am talking for 4 to 8 hours a day. During that time, I developed a routine that lasted over an hour to better my drumming skills. This routine involved a lot of double bass drum playing. I thought it would be cool to take that routine and make it a workout. So I did.

By changing how fast I was playing, I was able to control the intensity and my heart rate. On recovery days I could do a good recovery workout and on more intense days I could jack my heart rate up by playing faster. It worked out really well and was a very effective use of time.

Today I was thinking of doing the same thing but with household chores. I have seen some stuff targeted at housewives about how to do this. I’m not really interested in the same thing. I will take my exercise. But what I am interested in is getting some house work finished while keeping my heart rate up. There are two purposes that this works for me. I can do this as a recovery workout that fully takes care of the daily workout, or I can do it as a post workout recovery. After a hard training session, it is always good to keep your body moving for at least 15 minutes or so. This helps clear the lactic acid from your muscles and gradually brings down your heart rate. Failing to cool down properly will lead to more muscle soreness and a longer recovery time.

So that is really it. If you are interested in doing this light workout household chore thing, I would recommend getting a heart rate monitor. It can be hard to estimate where your heart rate is at without one. You definitely want to measure your heart rate so you know if you are working too hard or not hard enough. You will figure out what kind of chores to do. Trust me.