Linda Melone
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How to turn your daily routine into a firm-up plan

I usually save workout posts for Thursday, but I felt this topic combines motivation with a bit of fitness thrown in, so it still qualifies for a Monday Motivation.    

Besides, with the holidays around the corner it’s a good idea to think proactively so January 1 doesn’t blindside you… “What?? I just finished scooping the last of the smashed pumpkin off my doorstep! It can’t possibly be New Year’s.”

Yeah, it is. *insert sound of a party noisemaker here*

By the way, if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or the other holidays I’m about to discuss simply substitute another word for “holidays,” like maybe “wildebeest.” This way you won’t feel left out and it may even make you smile.

For example, “… with wildebeests around the corner…” See how that works? If you want something cuter, “guinea pigs” makes a reasonable substitute.

            You’re all invited!

Okay, onward.

So when you find yourself with a house full of relatives, friends, and strangers for the holidays who happened to wander into your house because they were too drunk to remember where they lived, you may find it tough to make time to exercise.

Instead of fretting because you can’t break away in the middle of partying to do your usual interval routine (unless you want them to leave), turn your regular activities into toning, firming ones (after you escort your inebriated neighbor out the door).

Part of it simply lies with making the conscious effort to do so.

Years ago, research emerged about hotel maids who were told about the calories they burned throughout the day. Up until this point they had no clue their daily routines counted as exercise. In fact, 67% of the working women reported they didn’t get any exercise at all, even though their actual activity level exceeded recommended amounts. A second group was not told anything but acted as the control group.

The first group was educated and made aware of how much that did, actually, move. The second group was not told anything but acted as the control.

Researchers followed up a month later. Surprisingly, maids who were informed of the number of calories they burned experienced a decrease in their blood pressure, lost weight and had smaller waistlines than prior to the test — simply because they now realized they were technically “working out” while doing their jobs.

This realization made the biggest difference between the groups. After being told they were doing more than they thought, scientists believe the women started taking note of their movements, may have paid closer attention to their food and overall saw themselves as more fit.

Think about your own daily actions. What do you do during the day that burns calories?

It could be walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming the floor, or a host of other chores.   

First, consider that 60 minutes of most household chores burns between 200-plus calories an hour. those calorie-burning chores quickly add up!

Thinking this way could also make it easier to get yourself to do those chores.  Although some days I’d rather pay someone $1,000 to empty my dishwasher, I’ll do it with slightly more gusto knowing it’s burning off part of my dinner.

Obviously, the more effort and the longer you do it the more you burn.

To take these tasks to the next level, think about these simple ways to incorporate toning into your daily activities by changing your focus from the chore itself to its body firming benefits:

1. Vacuuming/sweeping/mopping for a stronger core, back and toned arms:

– Contract your abdominals before you start

– Focus on getting a firm grip on the handle (strengthens arms) and pull the vacuum towards you as you pull your elbow back in a modified row, focusing on bringing your shoulder blade in towards the center of your back; do 15 “reps” with one arm and switch to the other

2. Waiting for something to cook or boil:

Take advantage of down time by:

— Do push-ups against the counter for chest, shoulders and core; keep the countertop in line with your chest as you lower yourself towards it; 12 to 15 reps

— Do squats with arms out in front of you or hands on hips for legs, glutes and core; lower yourself as far as your fitness allows, starting with a couple shallow reps before going lower; 12 to 15 reps

— Pick up two cans of soup or other easy to hold kitchen items of about the same weight and bring them up and out to your sides slowly and then back down in a lateral raise, which tones shoulders; repeat 15 to 20 times (more reps because they’re light weights)

3. Making the bed or picking up around the house   

Practice the “golfer’s pick-up,” which not only protects your back but helps your balance, too.

— Tighten your abs as you shift your weight to one leg and lean forward to pick up the item and extend the opposite leg out behind you; hang on to a stable object if you’re unsteady on your feet

4. Sitting at your desk or at the table after dinner (or to keep your mind occupied during a boring discussion)

Tighten your abs and lift up one leg — keep knees bent – hold a second or two, and then the other to tighten and tone lower abs. Video here:


Which of these moves will you incorporate into your day during the holidays (wildebeest)? Let me know in the comments section below….

And please forward this along to your Ageless Body Peeps and share it on Facebook! It’s the best holiday (wildebeest) present EVER!

Other posts you may enjoy:

5 Ways to stay upbeat on cold, dark days (includes a mood-boosting workout!)

How to get a headstart on weight loss in 2017

How to get results when you can’t do your usual workout

Got questions? Drop me a line at I’d love to hear from you!

See you next time…

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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