The Renovation Workout
The house we are fixing up was built in 1906. Besides needing a facelift from the ugly paint and carpets, we find ourselves facing restoration challenges as well. Sometimes the vintage pieces like gorgeous window and door mouldings win out and survive. Other times, we have to surrender to reality and break apart the ancient hinges just to get the door out of the way.
What I’m learning from this whole renovation process (other than the fact that it is taking over our lives and will probably never be truly complete) is that my body feels about as old as the house after days of working on it.
My arms, legs, shoulders and back are all getting quite a workout from the various jobs around the house. When we bought this house and agreed to the challenge of fixing it up, we did so because the house had good bones. I can only hope the same is true for me.
If anyone else has a laundry list of home improvement tasks and a desire to work your muscles until they’re sore, I can recommend the following Renovation Workout.
- Back Strengthening Carpet Pulls – They say if you want a strong core, you should work out your back as much as your abs. Pulling up old carpet is a great way to workout your back. As you grab the corners of the carpet, plant your feet and get low into a squat. Then pull the carpet back toward you, using your back muscles. Back up and repeat as many times as needed until all carpet has been separated from the tacking strips.
- Shoulder Scraping – Do your floors have old linoleum stuck on? Any stains or paint spills you need to scrape up off your hardwoods? Then give your shoulders and arms a workout while you scrape, scrape, scrape up the stuck-on mess.
- Crown Moulding Triceps – You need to remove all crown moulding before you can paint, so you might as well work your triceps and get your arms in shape for sleeveless summer days at the same time. Using your pry bar and hammer (the heavier the better for your arms, but beware of early fatigue if it’s too heavy), get the edge under the moulding and hammer it in until a gap appears. Then push down on the other end of the pry bar to slowly pop out the end of a strip. Continue until all nails are popped out and you can safely remove the moulding strip without cracking it. Best done on a low step stool so the work requires you to raise your arms over your head.
- Wax On, Wax Off, Wall Cleaning – There was a reason Mr. Miyagi did this to the Karate Kid. It’s a great upper body workout. Your walls should be cleaned before priming and painting. Your shoulders, arms, abs and back can help get the job done with a bucket of TSP substitute, a giant sponge, and a drying rag. Dip the sponge in the solution, squeeze out the excess and wash the walls using large circular motions while pushing with enough elbow grease to loosen the actual grease of previous owners stuck to the walls. Follow with the dry rag in your other hand in the same circular motion for an even workout.
- Paint Roller Squats – Everyone says you should keep a wet edge while painting, so roll from top to bottom to keep the paint even while getting the best lower body workout possible. Squat low (keeping your knees behind your toes) for all the lowest parts, then slowly rise up as you paint the rest of the wall. Hold your squat midway for the lower middle, stand straight for the center section, then rise onto your tiptoes for an added calf stretch for the very highest parts. Repeat for as many reps as needed until the wall is completely primed. Then repeat with paint color.
Repeat the above exercises for as many rooms as needed until your house looks great and your body reaps its rewards.
Now, if only I could find a home improvement project to keep the snacks out of my mouth, I’d be in great shape!