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Belfast City

11 Ways To Turn Household Chores Into A Workout

By Patience Bradley, author of The HouseWork WorkOut

Many people struggle to find time to exercise.  Sometimes just finding a little bit of time in our hectic schedule is virtually impossible.  So don’t try! At the end of the day cleaning and tidying your house is something you simply have to do, modifying your household chores shouldn’t be that hard.

By turning your household chores into a workout you can increase your heart rate and work your major muscle groups.  From hoovering, mopping and dusting to gardening and even cleaning the kitchen, there’s hundreds of exercises you can do at home.

When doing your HouseWork WorkOuts it’s a good idea to do these in 30 minutes slots.  You could even create a 30 minute playlist to work out to. Don’t forget that having up-beat and fast music on will help to keep you motivated, studies show that working out to fast music will increase your pace (which in turn increases your heart rate and therefore see you burning more calories), and the music typically makes you work out for longer.

1. Vacuum Your Entire House

Vacuuming can be a great exercise for your core and abs if you keep those muscles tense while cleaning. It burns around 190 calories per hour, but if you want to take this exercise further and burn more calories, do lunge motions while taking steps to work right in to those glutes.

2. Sweep Or Mop Your Floors

Prepare your floors by clearing the surfaces so you can clean as many as possible in quick succession. Where you can, squat rather than bending over to lift items and get to those hard-to-reach areas. Mopping burns around 195 calories per hour, but don’t forget to switch between your right and left arms to ensure an even work out. Use a good amount of elbow grease when you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing to work out your arms and shoulders, and remember to hold that tummy in while doing so to work out those abs.

3. Run Up And Down The Stairs

When you are tidying-up, and bringing items up or down the stairs, opt to repeat the action more often than you actually need to. For example, when bringing items upstairs, run up and down the stairs three times, as opposed to the one time that you need to. Walking up and down stairs at a brisk pace burns around 500 calories per hour. To turn this in to a toning exercise, go up two stairs at a time, but at a slower pace, so that it becomes a controlled strength exercise as opposed to a cardio one.

4. Do Calf Raises As You Wash Dishes

Start with your legs hip-width apart, before lifting up on to your toes. Hold this position for three to 10 seconds, before slowly coming down to stand on your whole feet again. Repeat this exercise 10 times per set, for three sets, with one minute rest in between sets.

5. Clean All Of Your Windows (Inside & Out)

Use both your left and right hands and arms to ensure an equal work out, and clean in a circular motion. Reach as high as you can to work your abs and oblique muscles (your waist). Cleaning windows burns around 180 calories per hour. The same applies to cleaning surfaces, mirrors, and dusting.

6. Weed Your Garden & Trim Plants

If weeding on your hands and knees, ensure you use proper cushioning, and engage your abs by keeping them tense throughout the work out. If you are doing short duration weeding in bursts, try squatting instead, and don’t forget to squat when gathering up the waste to put it in garden bags. Gardening in this way burns approximately 289 calories per hour.

7. Wash Your Car By Hand

Many of us enjoy the convenience of taking our cars to automatic or manual car wash services, but if you want to take advantage of nice weather, and get a work out in at the same time, wash your car by hand instead. A full car clean includes wetting, cleaning, rinsing, drying, and polishing, which are all fantastic actions for your arms and abs, as well as squatting to reach the lower areas of the vehicle, or to wet your chamois or sponge in soapy water. If you want to maximise this work out, clean the inside of your car, including the windows and hoovering the carpets and seats. Cleaning your car by hand burns around 230 calories per hour.

8. Make-The-Bed Triceps Dips

Depending on your skill level, changing bed sheets can feel like a work out on its own, especially if it’s a double. Maximise the benefits of doing this chore by fitting in some arm toning exercises at the same time. Sit on the edge of the bed with your hands placed palms down next to your hips, fingers facing forward. Scoot off the bed until you are only supported by your arms and feet. The further your feet are from the bed, the harder this exercise is. Lower down slowly, keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, and use your arms to push yourself back up. Repeat 10 times in one set, for three sets, with  one minute rest in between sets.

9. Toilet Split Squats

When cleaning the toilet and the bathroom, use the toilet (with the seat down) to perform Bulgarian Split Squats. Place one foot on the toilet and your front foot far enough out in front of you so that you can lunge down without your knee going over your toes. Slowly lower your body down and use your extended leg to push yourself back up. Your instinct will be to lean forward over your extended leg – don’t – keep your upper body as straight as you can. This is a fantastic work out for your whole leg as well as your glutes! Don’t forget to repeat on both legs.

10. Lazy Bicep Curls

If you are carrying bags of groceries in to the house, or bags of rubbish out to the bin, use the opportunity to fit in a few bicep curls. Get a good grip on the bag palm facing up and make a fist, keep your elbows at your sides, and lift the bags so your hands reach your chest. This move can even be done with tins of beans, one litre bottles of juice, or anything else that makes a suitable weight, while you’re sitting watching TV!

11. No Time To ‘Waist’

If you are waiting for the kettle to boil, pasta to cook, or the microwave to ding, squeeze in a few squats, lunges, or push-ups off a wall or kitchen counter. If you make a dinner every evening, and a couple of cups of tea a day, the short-duration exercises will soon build up over a week, and after all, every little helps

The HouseWork WorkOut by Patience Bradley is out now and available from Amazon or www.excaliburpress.co.uk/book-shop

Belfast City

Cathedral Quarter BID Celebrates Success Of Street Beat Police Presence In Area

An initiative that saw additional dedicated police officers patrolling Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has been welcomed as a proven success story by Destination CQ’s manager Damien Corr.

The Ballot for the continuation of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) is currently open until September 22. In an independent survey carried out in advance of the ballot, the Street Beat (#streetbeat) programme was seen as one of the key projects that adds value for businesses and organisations in the area, over 90% of respondents prioritised it for inclusion in the Business Plan for the next 5 years.

The StreetBeat officers are paid for by the BID and are additional to the normal policing provided by PSNI. The initiative was a direct response to local business owners’ concerns regarding antisocial activity within the areas. 

BID manager Damien Corr said: “As the businesses are paying for the service, it was essential that they felt in ‘control’, accordingly the officers have a designated phone which our Cathedral Quarter businesses can call direct 07787432635. This ability to bypass the general PSNI Switchboard is key to a more effective localised response.”

The officers patrol the area on foot and in their distinctive CQ street beat branded vehicle, dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. They also visit premises offering practical security and personnel safety advice and equipment.

StreetBeat PSNI officer Michael Gillies added: “Being given the time and support both by the BID and PSNI management, I have been allowed to focus my work specifically within the Cathedral Quarter and its needs. 

“This has helped to strengthen relationships already made with businesses and also to forge new ones. It’s back to basics Neighbourhood policing, only this time the neighbourhood is my local business community”.

However, the future of the scheme in the Cathedral Quarter relies on a ‘yes’ vote for a new five-year term for the Business Improvement District organisation Destination CQ.

With ballot papers already issued and voting by post closing on September 22, Mr Corr is keen to remind voters of what could be lost without their votes.

“The BID levy payers have told us that they really appreciate the work done by our Street Beat officers who, between them, have provided 2080 extra policing hours targeted patrolling,” he said. 

“They were particularly effective over lockdown when lots of properties were left unattended. Our officers continued to patrol, checking on closed business premises and providing assurance and practical assistance to those who continued to work.

“It is a simple reality, that unless we get a yes vote in the ballot, aloof this additional targeted policing will be lost to Cathedral Quarter.”

Sorcha Woolsy, Operations Director of Beannchor with a number of businesses in the BID area said the BID has carried out a number of projects that have impacted the Beannchor suite of businesses.

“The one that really stands out to me is the provision of the City Centre Beat Officers,” she added.

“It’s a really good example of an initiative that a BID can provide that an individual business could not on their own. 

“For me, it is imperative to vote yes on the re-ballot of the BID. The collective energy and brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own.”

For more information on the work of Destination CQ and Street Beat go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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Belfast City

CQ BID Celebrates Five Years Of Being Voice For All In Cathedral Quarter

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, Destination CQ, has for five years been the collective voice for every business in the area, lobbying and consulting with local and regional government and government agencies.

Destination CQ Manager, Damien Corr said the ability to go to these organisations and speak for everyone in the Cathedral Quarter, Smithfield and Union, is one that can’t go unnoticed.

“We are involved in most stakeholder groups in the city and that’s something that our levy payers don’t see a lot of,” he explained. 

“It takes up a lot of our time but it’s very worthwhile.

“The ability to lobby for individual businesses, or for the entire area, direct to departments is important, and we work away on issues until we are successful or reach an acceptable compromise.”

The pressures of the pandemic, shop closures and the complete halt to tourism have affected the economy as a whole but it also had a significant effect on the Cathedral Quarter. This inner-city neighbourhood, characterised by arts, culture, restaurants, entertainment and independent shops relies on tourists and visitors to survive.  

Over the past five years, Destination CQ has represented business interests at City Reopening Stakeholder Group, City Centre Anti-Social Behaviour Action Group and the Small Business Forum.

At present there is a ballot to continue the BID’s work for a further five years and voting Yes to the BID means local businesses can present a unified front and have a collective voice when engaging with the various stakeholders, either local government or assembly level.

When asked about the importance of banding together to present a collective voice, Sorcha Wolsey, Operations Director for the Beannchor Group and Destination CQ BID Board member said it was important that businesses come together.

“The collective energy, brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own,” she said.

The business improvement district has been actively championing the area, partnering with promotional activities such as the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme to help restaurants in the area recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

There have been numerous BID led initiatives that greatly benefited businesses in the neighbourhood. Culture Night and Restaurant Week are just some examples of the projects that make CQ a vibrant place to do business. 

Board member and Director of Quigg Golden, Gavin Hendrie said Cathedral Quarter needed a body to explain the issues and promote the area.

“We need a champion for the area,” he explained. “We need the BID to help advertise the CQ as a place to come, to maintain the sense of vibrancy that we’ve known in the past and perhaps lost in the last 18 months.”

Supporting local businesses remains one of the three pillars the Business Improvement District plans to focus on in term two. Collective advocacy is still a priority with creating a strong alliance among stakeholders and ensuring BID members’ voice is heard in key city-wide discussions.

Les Hume, Vice-Chair of CQ BID explained why it is crucial to be represented as a collective:

“By being part of a collective we can present a reasoned, well thought through debate, we can actually bring our concerns and our troubles to the people who make the key decisions,” he said. 

“I think that in the next five years we’re going to have even greater challenges as we try to build Belfast back better.

“To vote yes for this BID process means that your voice can be heard, along with mine hopefully. Together we’ll make Belfast better.

“Individually we will struggle. That’s what I think is good about a Business Improvement District, so please do consider voting yes.”

For more information on how the work of Destination CQ BID can benefit your business go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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