Day 23 | Last Minute Preparation | To Do List Workout

Written by Jack Boardman

Last Minute Preparation: To Do List Workout

When you’ve got a lot of last minute preparations to get through all that rushed work can feel like you’re putting in a workout. Maybe you are.

As with all exercise, you get out what you put in, so the amount of energy you’re expending, the amount you sweat and any potential health gains you could possibly achieve from running around getting your odd jobs done all depends on the amount of effort you put in.

Don’t get us wrong, you can iron for hours but any sweat you build up is probably because of the steam. Consider it your post-workout sauna or steam room if you’re really keen to make your to do list count as a gym visit.

In terms of burning calories and aerobic exercise, rushing to the shops, around the house, going up and down stairs, with intervals of cleaning all sound an awful lot like circuit training to us.

Then there’s the lifting, reaching and moving involved. Moving furniture, deadlifting laundry baskets, carrying shopping bags – the to do list can go on and on, but when you think about it, these things are activating your muscles in ways you might not have thought of.


How Can You Turn Your Chores Into An Actual Workout?


The warm up. Yeah, that’s right – you’re about to warm up to go to the shops and clean the house. Get your sweats on (compression clothing might seem a bit much, especially if you need to go to the shops as part of your last minute tasks.

To warm up, have an all-over stretch. If you have any lifting, carrying or reaching to do, you’ll be feeling sorry pulling a muscle doing household chores.

If you have any last minute shopping, pick a route to the convenience store that you can jog. This counts as your cardio and loosens you up while getting your heart rate up. The walk around the shop counts as your low energy rest interval before the lifting begins.

Switch the shopping basket from arm to arm for even distribution as it gets heavier. This will warm up your delts, shoulders, arms and obliques.




So you’ve got a list of chores that includes cleaning, laundry and shopping. Our advice is to compartmentalise and look at what health gains are to be had from each. Charging around with the hoover, moving furniture and carrying shopping come under the category of low intensity circuits, depending on how hard you go at it.

Weight Lifting


If you’ve left all of your dirty laundry until the last minute you’ll likely have a hamper that weighs a fair few kilograms. Remember your deadlifting technique before picking it up. If you’ve been so busy that you’ve been skipping leg day, attempt 15 reps of laundry basket deadlifts each time you come to pick it up.

overhead squat



Identify the lifting, running around and resting/ low mobility tasks that need doing, then once you’ve done this, action them one at a time so you have an order that looks like this.

Cardio – intense hoovering, taking things up and down stairs, dusting

Lifting – laundry baskets, bin bags, moving furniture

Intervals – watering plants, dishes, toilet scrubbing


Finish With Ironing


 This counts as your low activity warm down (and your post-workout steam).

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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