What Household Chores Burn The Most Calories?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock/ Andrew Angelov

In this busy world, it is easy to feel like there simply isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to. Between work and personal responsibilities, there is little leftover time for enjoying simple pleasures, let alone a good workout. If you are trying to incorporate more exercise into your busy life, you will be happy to know you can burn a lot of calories doing some household chores.

Several household chores burn almost as many calories as some cardiovascular workouts. Some common chores that burn the most calories include mopping your floors, deep cleaning your bathroom, and gardening outside. Other chores that can turn into a good workout include washing and polishing windows, vacuuming, cooking, and hand washing your laundry. Use music to increase your energy level, and try to activate your core when doing chores.

Any activity that involves moving around burns some calories. You even burn calories when you are sleeping. So, every chore will help you burn calories, but some can burn almost as many calories as a cardiovascular workout. If you are looking to lose a bit of weight or increase your daily activity levels, then you have come to the right place. Below is a list of nine household chores that can help you burn lots of calories without ever leaving your property.

Nine Household Chores That Burn Lots Of Calories

1. Mopping Your Floors

If you have a lot of floor space in your home, then you might have a great way to burn calories without even knowing it. Mopping the floors can burn anywhere from 100 to 300 calories in an hour. Mopping is an activity you do standing up, and uses many of your muscle groups, from your lower body to your core, and especially your upper body.

If you want to maximize the amount of calories you burn from mopping, don’t use fancy mechanical mops. Items like wet-jet style mops make things easy, but they also significantly decrease the number of calories you burn while mopping. Instead, keep it old-school and use a mop and bucket. This often produces cleaner floors in addition to burning more calories.

2. Deep Cleaning Your Bathroom

Few household cleaning projects feel more rewarding than deep cleaning the bathroom. After you remove soap scum, mildew, and all sorts of other icky substances that lurk and grow in a bathroom, you are left with a fresh-smelling and pristine bathroom. You can also burn a ton of calories doing it.

You can easily burn between 200 and 300 calories deep cleaning your bathroom if you spend an hour doing it. If you clean the room from top to bottom and scrub the fixtures, sink and tub and all the walls, then you will maximize the number of calories burned.

3. Gardening

One of the perks of having a green thumb is that you can burn calories while doing a household chore you love. Gardening involves a lot of squatting, digging, standing, and sitting. All of these movements result in a slow and steady full-body workout.

Gardening in your yard burns an average of 300 calories per hour. If, however, you are doing a lot of digging, raking, and clearing, you can burn even more calories. The key is to practice habits that reduce pain when you garden, so you can burn calories without feeling sore afterwards.

4. Hand Washing And Hanging Laundry

Hand washing your clothing might not be as easy as using your washing machine, but it is much better for your waistline. If you keep putting off hand washing some delicate garments, try to remember that washing your clothing by hand can also double as a light workout.

Hand-washing clothes can burn more than 400 calories in one hour. If you combine this with hanging your clothing out to dry, you have yourself a complete workout.

5. Washing And Polishing Windows

If you have a lot of floor-to-ceiling windows, then you are no stranger to working up a sweat while you clean and buff them from top to bottom. This might not be the most fun activity, especially if you have a lot of large windows, but it can burn a ton of calories.

Washing windows can burn a whopping 350 to 400 calories per hour. This is because you not only work your arms a lot, but you also engage your core and even lower body. The more windows you have, the more calories you will burn. This is yet another perk of having a great view.

6. Organizing Your Kitchen And Refrigerator

You might put off organizing your pantry or clearing out your refrigerator, as it is a complex household chore that involves some strategy and planning. If you need some motivation to organize your refrigerator and pantry, then consider the fact that it burns anywhere from 170 to 300 calories in an hour. Naturally, the more lifting and shifting you do, the more calories you will burn.

7. Vacuuming Your Carpets And Rugs

If you don’t have hardwood floors or tile to mop, don’t worry, you can still burn plenty of calories by vacuuming. Vacuuming the carpets and rugs in your home burns anywhere from 100 to 200 calories per hour. The variables to consider include the type of carpeting and the type of vacuum.

Many modern vacuums are self-propelled, and do a lot of the work for you. But if you are pushing and pulling the vacuum yourself, you will burn more calories. Thicker and longer rugs are also usually more challenging to vacuum. This often means you burn more calories vacuuming this type of dense carpeting, as opposed to flat carpets.

8. Food Preparation And Cooking

If you need some cooking inspiration, consider the fact that it is a household chore that burns a lot of calories. Food preparation and the act of cooking involve a lot more physical activity than you might realize. Chopping, lifting, stirring, and cleaning up can quickly increase the number of calories you burn before you eat a meal. You can easily burn 150 to 200 calories cooking for an hour.

9. Dusting And Polishing

Dusting walls and ceilings, and polishing brass and other metal fixtures is a commonly neglected task. But it is also a chore that burns a lot of calories, so it is worth grabbing a duster and polishing rag if you are trying to lose a little weight but can’t make it to the gym. You can burn upwards of 200 calories in one hour simply by dusting your home and polishing up the brass and chrome.

Ways To Burn More Calories When You Do Your Chores

  • Listen To Music To Keep Things Upbeat: Listening to some music on your stereo or with headphones is a great way to keep your chores lighthearted. Just like many people use upbeat music at the gym to push themselves through a cardio workout, you can use the same method to turn your chores into a fun workout.
  • Calculate Your Active Energy: With smart watches and modern metrics, it has become very easy to calculate active energy and the number of calories you burn. The more you can measure the calories you burn, the easier it is to set fitness goals through performing simple household chores.
  • Don’t Use Machines That Make The Job Easier: Modern cleaning machines are enticing, as they make mundane tasks easier. But they also significantly reduce the number of calories you burn. If you don’t mind doing the extra work, then keep away from these modern shortcuts.
  • Mindfully Engage Your Core: When you are doing tasks that involve your full body, like polishing, dusting, gardening, and mopping, try to activate and engage your core muscles. Pay attention to your body and posture when you perform these chores, and this will transform them into a workout.

Final Notes On Household Chores That Burn The Most Calories

It is hard to fit a trip to the gym, or even a jog or bike ride through the neighborhood into a busy schedule. The good news is that if you do a lot of household chores, you can burn a lot of calories while accomplishing necessary daily tasks. Mopping, hand-washing clothes, gardening, and deep cleaning your bathroom rank among the household chores that burn the most calories. Other common household tasks that can burn 200 calories or more include cooking, vacuuming, dusting, and organizing your refrigerator and pantry.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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