If you use a mop to clean the floor, you might be missing an opportunity to strengthen your body. Your mop could be undermining your strength and flexibility and taking away a great opportunity for you to be getting stronger and healthier while you clean your house.
I have always been somewhat averse to owning a mop and here is why:
At first I thought I just wanted to own less stuff and use a cloth while washing on hands and knees. But it is so much more than that.
This morning, I had a most wonderful time washing my kitchen floor. I felt my hips opening up as I washed the floor on my hands-and-knees, moved into various crouching and squatting positions and revelled in the strength I felt in my body while I scrubbed, shuffled around and reached. It was a glorious 20 minutes at the beginning of my day.
Lately I am all about getting my body movement throughout the day while integrating movement variety into my habits. There are a few reasons for this:
First of all, I have a baby and I need to be efficient with how I get things done. I no longer have endless free hours in which I can stretch and exercise.
Second: I don’t identify with exercise culture. I have problems with “exercise” for exercise sake. I think it all too often separates movement from real life and can be overly image-focused rather than function-focused. I want my body to work well and know that when it works well, it also looks good. But the working well part is more important to me than looking good. Get it? Looking good is a side-effect of optimal function.
I want movement to be a part of my whole life, not separate from it for tons of health and efficiency reasons…I am standing in a position which is strengthening my shoulder stabilizers and stretching my hamstrings while I write this.
The third reason, and topic for this article is that crawling-type movements, anything on all-4s really, is one of the best things you can do for health/strength. In terms of strength, with a tiny bit of alignment info and awareness, all-4s/crawling movement strengthens your shoulders, neck, back, abs, pelvic floor, chest…just about everything. It helps you align and can also be used as a way to help deter our bodies from going into the postural malfunctions that are typical with all of our computer use, hunched-forward-cell-phone-posture, driving, sitting etc.
So, good stuff there. Every time you get down on your floor it will her strengthen and align you and will add variety to your movement habits.
It can be better than doing an actual exercise of an all-4s variety because you will use more variety of positions such as crouching, squatting, all 4s, all 3s etc. You will switch from hand to hand which stabilizes and strengthens your shoulders. Your core muscles will be active without you having to think about it which is good for your back and for the health and coordination of your whole body.
If you are a mom who wants more inventive ways to put strength and stretch in in your day check out these Mama Moves Cards.
So, here are the great things about washing the floor on hands and knees: