Propelling vacuums, changing linens, dusting surfaces, scrubbing tiles and maneuvering through floors filled with rooms to be cleaned – to the outsider, it sounds a lot like physical activity, but to the housekeeper, it is routine. It is how she spends her days, cleaning every nook and cranny of the hotel until she can return home, exhausted. Once retired for the night, there’s little hope of unnecessary activity such as exercise. It is all she can do to prepare dinner and tend to her family. So if asked if she worked out regularly, the typical hotel maid would say no. However, she would be wrong.
Cleaning 15 rooms a day amounts to more than enough activity to meet the recommended minimum of 30 minutes. Each task from scrubbing to vacuuming burns at least 50 calories in just 15 minutes. The self-perceived sedentary life of a housekeeper is actually nonexistent, which is exactly what researchers told 44 hotel maids in a recent study. Once they knew, their health seemed to turn around. They lost an average of two pounds, lowered their blood pressure and improved their quality of life, simply by acknowledging that they were active. And you can do the same thing.
Mindfulness is a choice; it is a conscious action on the part of the individual to be aware of his present situation. It blocks the past and the future, so that you can live in the now. Practice mindfulness when assessing your health. Become cognizant of what you are doing that may be helpful or hurtful. You may find, as the maids did, that you are healthier than you thought, or you may find that you are not. If it is the latter, work to change your present. Don’t focus on the future and a fingers-crossed lower pants size, or the past and a romanticized, robust youth. Determine what you can do in the here and now to make your life a healthier one.