Is Housework Exercise? Yes, of Course!

By Angela Tague in Healthy Feeling

You'll never look at your vacuum the same way again. When I started tracking my weekly household chores on my favorite fitness app, I was surprised to learn that everything from vacuuming to gardening burns calories.

So, is housework exercise? Yes! I no longer worry about squeezing in that weekend yoga class and actually look forward to tidying up the house on Sunday afternoons. After all, running up and down the stairs dozens of times and breaking a sweat is good for me.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults engage in at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity weekly and strength training at least two times per week. This movement can come from many activities, including swimming at the gym or mowing the lawn.

mowing the lawn

Goodbye, Calories

You might be wondering just how many calories you can burn by tackling your house chores. The amount varies depending on your weight, metabolism, age, and sex, according to the Mayo Clinic. When you're heavier and moving more weight around, you burn more calories. As you shed extra weight, it takes less effort to move your body, so fewer calories are burned.

Calorie Lab shares a calculator online that can help you figure out your calorie burn for common household activities. For example, an adult weighing 150 lbs. can expect these calories burned doing housework:

  • 39 calories by sweeping floors for 15 minutes
  • 88 calories by standing and manually washing dishes for an hour
  • 68 calories by folding, hanging, and sorting laundry for an hour
  • 17 calories by making beds for 15 minutes
  • 43 calories by bathing the family dog for 15 minutes

So, if you've been feeling bad about not getting to the gym, don't! Your daily housework is burning more calories than you realize.

Amp up the Burn

If you really want to go above and beyond, and maybe lose a few pounds, you can increase your calorie burn by adding extra temporary weight to your body. Remember, moving more weight around burns more calories.

Try wearing ankle or wrist weights. Or, slip on a baby carrier and keep your little one close by while you fold laundry and vacuum. You can even sneak in some lunges as you walk across the house or some heel lifts as you stand at the sink and wash dishes.

If raking leaves or snow removal are on your to-do list this weekend, don't feel guilty about skipping that cardio class. You'll burn calories the old-fashioned way by working around the house!

In your opinion, is housework exercise? What creative ways are you exercising and getting housework done? We'd love to hear your ideas on Twitter!

Image source: Flickr | Flickr

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Getting ahead on housework can make you feel good and keep your waistline in check. Sometimes we just need to think beyond the treadmill and embrace that stack of dirty dishes to ramp up our calorie burn when we don't have time to fit traditional exercise into our day.