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Housework Counts As Exercise!

Becca Capell

READ TIME:2 min.

Picture this: you’ve finished a long day of housework, cleaning up after the kids, and pulling weeds in the backyard…and you’re exhausted. Right when you have some free time to go to the gym, your energy’s all but gone. Sound familiar?

Not to worry! It turns out that house and yard work may serve as more of a workout than you’ve imagined. This also explains why you’re feeling fatigued by the end of the day—you’ve been working hard! And although daily exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle, don’t stress too much if you aren’t able to make it to the gym every now and then. You can burn calories while checking off your to-do list around the house.

Did you know that simply believing in housework as exercise has proven to be effective? A Harvard study concluded that women working in housekeeping worked harder physically and saw greater health benefits after being told their work was approved by the Surgeon General for daily exercise. In four short weeks, these women saw a decrease in body fat percentage, blood pressure, weight, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index, whereas the control study did not. Your mindset matters, and having a positive attitude on chores at home can help you benefit not only mentally, but physically.

Try these calorie-burning chores to work underused muscles at home.

    • Vacuuming: 176 calories

A push and pull motion that will engage your chest, back, and arms.

    • Gardening: 287 calories

Pulling weeds while squatting, planting, and raking leaves make for an full-body workout.

    • Bathroom: 180 calories

Cleaning the toilet and scrubbing the bathtub will work your core, back, and arms.

    • Cooking: 136 calories

Stirring, whisking, chopping, and kneading will give your upper body a surprising workout.

    • Mopping: 248 calories

Your shoulders will be on fire!

    • Mowing the lawn: 375 calories

Feel the burn with this calorie-crushing chore that will target your thighs, back, and arms.

    • Sweeping: 272 calories

A similar motion to mopping and vacuuming.

    • Shoveling snow: a whopping 428 calories!

You’ll feel it in your legs, core, back, shoulders, and arms.

    • Laundry: 150 calories

Changing sheets, ironing, bending down to retrieve clothes, and carrying your hamper up and down the stairs will get your heart pumping.

    • Cleaning the car: 204 calories

Washing, cleaning, and vacuuming will raise that heart rate.

    • Painting: 340 calories

Renovating. Another great workout for your upper body.

    • Washing dishes: 164 calories

Your forearms, biceps, triceps, and chest will feel this one.

    • Moving furniture: 409 calories!

Spring cleaning, rearranging, and helping your neighbors move are ways to demolish those calories.

    • Dusting: 178 calories

Try and reach those high and low corners for full body motion.

*Calories per hour
**Calories are based on a 150-pound person.

You can always add some mini additions to your “houseworkout.” Engage your core, try some calf raises while cooking, use ankle and wrist weights as you complete tasks around the house, perform squats with items such as a laundry hamper, or put on some catchy tunes to pump you up!

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, you’ll have even more motivation to dive into your cleaning and complete those household action items you’ve been putting off.

Happy cleaning!

Kayleigh Jardine

iFit Trainer

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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