You can burn a significant amount of calories performing chores around the house. In fact, you can burn just as many calories cleaning your house as you would at a gym, depending on the amount of time you spend completing household chores. A study published in a 2008 edition of “Calcified Tissue International” reports that low-impact physical activity, such as heavy housework, is beneficial for bone health and can help you achieve a healthy body weight and body-fat percentage.
The amount of calories you’ll burn completing household chores depends on your body weight. The less you weigh, the fewer calories you’ll burn performing the same household chore as someone with a heavier body weight. For example, a 125-pound woman will burn fewer calories washing windows, vacuuming or mopping than a woman who weighs 185 pounds.
You can burn just as many calories completing household chores as you can exercising at a low intensity; especially if you spend at least 30 minutes doing housework. According to Harvard Medical School, if you weigh 125 to 185 pounds you can burn 75 to 111 calories cooking, 135 to 200 calories painting the inside of your house and 135 to 200 calories in 30 minutes of performing heavy household cleaning, such as washing windows, vacuuming or scrubbing the floor.
You can also burn quite a few calories doing outside work around the house. According to Harvard Medical School, in 30 minutes, people who weigh 125 to 185 pounds can burn 165 to 244 calories pushing a lawnmower; 120 to 178 calories raking a yard; 139 to 205 calories weeding a garden; and 180 to 266 calories shoveling snow for 30 minutes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that a 154-pound person can burn about 330 to 440 calories in one hour, or 165 to 220 calories in 30 minutes, doing yard work.
PubMed Health reports that exercising at least 30 minutes each day will reduce your risk for heart disease. According to Harvard Medical School, you can burn the same amount of calories performing heavy household cleaning for 30 minutes as you can walking at a pace of 4 mph for the same duration of time. Therefore, participating in high-intensity household chores for 30 minutes each day may help reduce your disease risks.
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Calcified Tissue International: Habitual and Low-Impact Activities are Associated with Better Bone Outcomes and Lower Body Fat in Older Women
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim for a Healthy Weight
- PubMed Health: Coronary Heart Disease
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.