Cleaning is cleansing

4 October 2013

Written by: Erin Lyons

The sun is shining, the flowers are blossoming and it’s time to dust the cobwebs off your favourite pair of shorts.

It’s time for your annual spring clean.

While many may groan at the idea of cleaning, there are a number of physical and mental health benefits from clearing up your closet.

A typical spring clean can lead you to burning more calories than a marathon runner.

Accordingly, untidiness is a major cause of stress and anxiety, especially for students who have a disorderly study space.

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It has been established that spring cleaning is good for mental health and particularly for the mental health of over-scheduled students.

Research shows that spring cleaning can also be a major calorie burner with the typical homeowner spending an average of four days cleaning.

In this time they are expect to burn up 3,655 calories, which is up to 100 more calories than a marathon runner, who would typically burn between 2,500 and 3,500 calories on their run.

Maintaining an exercise regime is generally an ambition for many individuals, and it can be a hard task to manage for busy students who often have little time to clean or exercise.

However, setting aside an hour or so for your annual spring clean can be just as beneficial as a visit to the gym.

Fitness instructor and personal trainer, Ashleigh Mastin states that any form of movement we endure whether it be going for a walk or mopping the house will help burn calories.

“Whenever your body is moving you burn calories, whether it be small or large amounts.”

“Just like when you spend hours in the gym on the cross trainer or treadmill, activities such as vacuuming, mopping or hanging out the washing will bring your heart rate up and you will will also burn calories,” Mastin says.

Accordingly Mastin pinpoints which cleaning activities are likely to burn the most calories.

“Washing the windows would burn the most calories, because it’s a whole body workout and is especially strenuous on the upper body,” she says.

“But vacuuming and mopping are also great for core strength and increasing your heart rate.”

Nevertheless, it’s hard to judge just how effective your cleaning regime is in regards to calorie burning, yet Mastin suggest how you can monitor your cleaning workout.

“I suggest you get something a simple as a pedometer. It’s surprising by how many steps you do when vacuuming your house or making the beds in the morning,” Mastin says.

20-year-old Fashion Design student, Alexandra, says that she is often stressed or anxious due to study commitments and she explains having a tidy production space is one of the most effective ways of curbing her anxiety.

“I’ve somehow persuaded myself that I cannot operate or study well in a messy environment so now cleaning has become the first task of almost every day,” says Alexandra.

With this in mind – spring can also symbolise new beginnings. Like caterpillars to butterflies and buds to flowers, we too may be in need of a transformation. For Alexandra, change is a vital part of her spring cleaning ritual.

“Studying fashion, my wardrobe is constantly changing and the only times in which I clean out my wardrobe are when I want to start fresh and turn over a new leaf,” she says.

“My clothing represents myself so when I change — socially, personally, financially or in regards to my occupation — my clothes do too.”

To achieve this ‘fresh start’, Alexandra suggests the ultimate spring cleaning cleanse: you must throw away items that are potentially weighing you down psychologically.

But, often it’s hard to throw away things that we are emotionally attached too.

“Old, unworn clothes are reminiscent of the past. I feel the best way to let go of old objects that you’re sensitively devoted to, is to throw them out on a whim.

“Don’t overthink, and remember to tell yourself that they are only possessions – materialistic items,” says Alexandra.

So, put down that text book, slip on those gloves and get cleaning because whilst this may seem like a grueling chore, it’s been established that eliminating clutter can help remove overwhelming stress, and assist in maintaining physical fitness and well-being.

 

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Erin Lyons is a third year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student and a staff writer for upstart. You can Follow her on Twitter, @erinmaylyons.

 

Picture: Courtesy of Flickr/Jason Lander (eyeliam)