Movement Mondays: Clean House, Happy Body

Welcome to Movement Mondays! If you follow Heart & Bones Yoga on Facebook, you will already know that every Monday I post a movement tip, tutorial or creative idea to keep your body happy in all sorts of cool and unique ways. We've done everything from simple foot stretches, ways to keep your neck happy and even one of the Movement Mondays became a viral video on Facebook! Viewed over 50,000 times and over 500 people shared the video around the world. Wowza! Now you can enjoy Movement Mondays here on the blog even if you aren't on the ol' Facebook.

This week's Movement Monday is whole body movement for when you have to do the inevitable... clean the house. For those who don't have a magical person to come and clean our house, we have to get down and do the dirty work ourselves. Sometimes house cleaning can make your back ache, add to your shoulder tension and more. 

Even if your body doesn't hurt when you clean, cleaning tools of convenience such as mops, keep you upright and using very little body and joint range of motion. Picture this: When you push a mop back and forth, you will get some work in your shoulders and arms but that's about it.

Now imagine you are back in the days before mops. To get those floors clean you had to get down on your hands and knees, using the ol' elbow grease. Which is a GOOD thing! Think about it from a movement perspective... just getting down to the floor you need to use more movement in the hip joints, keeping them mobile and healthy. Once on your hands and knees, one arm has to hold you up while the other arm with rag in hand, reaches out in wide arcing circles to make the floors sparkle. Not only do the shoulder joints stay mobile this way, but that elbow grease is maintaining a functional strength in your arms. *If you are someone with limited mobility or have knees that don't allow you to move that way, then the mop is a safe and logical choice. 

Watch this cute lil' video showing a few of the different ways we try to use our whole body, create new movement patterns all while cleaning up. Take note of what I'm talking about with the floor cleaning. Check out all that happy range of motion. (And my cute little helper). Win win!

some more whole body cleaning ideas:

*When you are changing up movement patterns and habits, it is important to listen to your body and not push things to fast. These are all just suggestions... please use common sense when playing around with these ideas and adjust them appropriately for your body. 

Ditch the mop: 

As explained above, getting down on the ground is a fantastic whole body movement extravaganza. It may take a little more time, but if your life is already busy and full, then just know that as you clean you are getting a "workout", so now you don't have to make extra time for your fitness. Boom.

Doing Dishes: Bend & Stretch

If you have a whole pile of dishes to do which leaves you standing still in one spot for a while, take a few moments every couple of minutes to stretch. Great demo of that in the video above. Your back will thank you and your hamstrings will be happy. Hurray!

Picking Things Off the Floor: Change it up

When bending down to get something off the floor, do you always do it in the same way? Change up your movement patterns for a healthier body. Squat instead of always just bending forward and down. Or if doing a forward bending type movement, try to keep your pelvis untucked and stick your butt out. Play around with balancing on one leg when you go down, bringing the other leg up in the air. I've spent my whole life seeing my mom bend down to pick things up this way, among her other creative ways to move. And now in her 60's she has maintained great mobility and balance in her body and joints. (Thanks mom!)

Lifting Laundry Baskets: Build Strength

When you lift and carry a full basket of laundry, do you rest it against the front of your body or hips for extra support? Try to use just the strength of your arms to carry it instead.

Seasonal Suggestions: 

Shovelling snow: Great core and upper body workout as long as you are aware of maintaining good alignment.

Mowing the lawn: If you have a non-electric push mower, not only are you keeping the earth happy but keeping yourself nice and strong. If you have a powered mower with a self-propelled option, turn it off and use your own body strength.

What ways do you clean your house or engage in other everyday activities to keep your body happy? Please share in the comments and go let some fresh air in, turn on your favourite music and enjoy some whole body happy clean up!