Household Chores Can Provide Exercise in a Healthy Lifestyle

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • We all know when it comes to exercise we get out what we put in. Unfortunately, simply showing up for an exercise class won't do us an awful lot of good. But, is it really all about hard slog?


    You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to burn a significant amount of calories simply by putting more energy into our daily household chores. According to a pole by British researchers the average number of calories burned each year by simply doing household chores is 50,261. Pretty amazing!


    They also estimated that people walk more than 22 miles in a year while cleaning their house, and that each year:

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    • Laundry burns 9,464 calories
    • Vacuuming burns 6,800 calories
    • Ironing burns 6,794 calories
    • Tidying up burns 4,541 calories
    • Dusting and polishing burns 2,288 calories

    What better reason to complete our household chores with extra vigor and enthusiasm?

    So, what does this mean in terms of our day-to-day workload?


    Well, below is a list of the estimated calories you will burn doing basic household chores. Please note that calories are shown for one hour of activity; if you tend to do more or less, remember to adjust for this.




    130 pounds

    155 pounds

    190 pounds


    Aerobics, low impact

    295 calories

    352 calories

    431 calories

    Bicycling, moderate level

    472 calories

    563 calories

    690 calories


    Cleaning, general

    207 calories

    246 calories

    302 calories


    148 calories

    176 calories

    216 calories

    Gardening, general

    295 calories

    352 calories

    431 calories

    Mowing lawn

    325 calories

    387 calories

    474 calories

    Raking the lawn

    236 calories

    281 calories

    345 calories

    Running 10 mph

    944 calories

    1126 calories

    1380 calories

    Scrubbing floors

    325 calories

    387 calories

    474 calories

    Shoveling snow

    354 calories

    422 calories

    518 calories

    Stair climbing

    496 calories

    592 calories

    725 calories

    Swimming laps

    472 calories

    563 calories

    690 calories


    217 calories

    259 calories

    317 calories

    Walking 3mph

    207 calories

    246 calories

    302 calories



    Information source Nutristrategy.


    It's important not to focus too much on calorie intake and expenditure . However, it is definitely encouraging to know that our chores carry a two-fold advantage.

    Maximize your potential


    Remember, we should be aiming for 30 minutes of activity at least 5 times each week, and thankfully our household chores can count towards this goal.


    Try to maximize your calorie burning potential by completing your housework as vigorously as possible. Use your arms, legs and core muscles to really mop, scrub, sweep or clean your home at a pace fast enough to get your heart rate pumping. This way you'll be getting a complete body workout at the same time.


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    By simply adding a little extra vivacity to your daily chores you will be burning extra calories and your whole body, including your heart, will be stronger and healthier too. Who knew that cleaning was so good for us?



    Related Information:


    Read Melanie's tips on goal setting - SMART Goal Setting for Healthier Lifestyles and Are You Ready to Change Your Behavior?


    Exercise is only half the battle; learn more about heart healthy eating and cooking.


    Melanie Thomassian is a dietician, and author of, an online resource for credible dietary advice, exercise tips, and much more!

Published On: December 17, 2007