Whether you’re pressed for time or just looking to add a little exercise to your day, cleaning or doing small chores around the house is one way to burn fat and calories.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doing housework counts toward adults’ recommended amount (150 minutes per week) of physical activity. What’s more? Doing household chores can help increase your metabolism, strength, and mobility.
Read on to discover just how many calories you burn while cleaning—and get tips for transforming your weekly housecleaning routine into a complete workout.
Vacuuming or Mopping
Although vacuuming or mopping may seem mundane, it’s an excellent way to burn extra calories throughout the day. Vacuuming burns an average of 68 calories per half-hour, while mopping burns approximately 136 calories.
Want to turn this chore into even more of a workout? Set a timer and see how many rooms you can clean in 15–20 minutes. You can also try vacuuming on your tiptoes for an extra challenge.
Washing Dishes by Hand
Cleaning up after mealtime can be tedious and time-consuming, depending on the size of your kitchen and the number of dishes you have to wash. Luckily, hand-washing dishes or tidying up the kitchen is another easy way to sneak some physical activity into your day.
You can burn around 68 calories per half-hour of washing dishes by hand. And keep in mind this doesn’t include drying the dishes!
Cleaning and organizing your home doesn’t have to mean spending hours scrubbing the baseboards and dusting every surface in sight. Sometimes, tidying can be just as effective.
According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), a 150-pound person can burn up to 204 calories by doing just one hour of housework, while moving or carrying boxes can burn an additional 504 calories per hour.
Looking for ways to turn your tidying sessions into a mini-workout? Turn on some tunes and dance your way from room to room. You can also throw in a few jumping jacks or other high-energy moves to keep yourself motivated.
Gardening is a low-impact activity that can help burn calories and improve overall well-being. Plus, it’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.
Just 30 minutes of gardening can burn roughly 170 calories. Raking the leaves or pulling weeds can give you an extra calorie-burning boost.
In addition to helping you stay active, gardening can also reduce stress and improve mood—a win-win for your physical and mental health.
Folding laundry is another simple household task that can help you stay fit and burn calories. According to the Calorie Control Council, doing laundry and folding clothes for one hour can burn approximately 136 calories.
To make the most of this activity, consider doing squats while you fold towels or propping up your legs and doing crunches while you fold socks. You can also do lunges or step-ups as you transfer clean clothes from the washer to the dryer.
Whatever your preferred method, incorporating a little movement into your daily chores is a fun way to boost your fitness level and get your body moving throughout the day. Just be sure to pace yourself and maintain good form—you don’t want to risk an injury while cleaning the house!
The Active Aging Series is brought to you by our partner, Cambrian Homecare. Cambrian Homecare has been assisting individuals to stay independent in their homes for 27 years. Flexible experience you can trust, when the best place is still at home.