Exercising through Household Chores
by our Health Guru

As the weather gets warmer, it seems to get more and more difficult to find the motivation for doing household chores. But, wait, there is something! Perhaps there is a reason they call it houseWORK. You can burn serious calories during a marathon cleaning session.

According to a British study of 3,000 people, an average of 50,261 calories are burned off each year doing household chores. The study also found that housework can provide a better workout than spending an hour a week at the gym. Household chores provide the same amount of exercise as spending 57 hours running at 8.5 mph or bicycling 477 miles.

As a bonus, nearly two-thirds of the study participants said they cleaned more thoroughly when they were using housework for exercise. Perhaps surprisingly, 94 percent said they worked up a sweat while doing the chores while 50 percent could feel their muscles burning afterwards.

Factors that may increase or decrease the amount of calories you burn during any activity can include:

  • Physical Condition: Muscle is a more active calorie-burner than fat and other body tissue.
  • Age: Older people usually have a slower metabolism and less muscle.
  • Gender: Women burn fewer calories than men when performing equivalent exercise, partially because men tend to have more muscle.
  • Weight: People who weigh more burn more calories, because their bodies use more energy for movements.
  • Intensity of activity: How many calories someone burns is influenced by the intensity of the exercise. In general, the harder the exercise, the more calories burned. However, it only slightly increases calorie consumption; so to burn more calories, it’s better to exercise for a longer period of time.
  • Ambient temperature: the colder it is, the more energy you will use.

The experts say it takes about 3500 calories to burn a pound of fat. So, if you want to lose a pound of fat, you have to create a deficit between the amount of calories you eat, and the amount you burn, usually between 500-700 calories. So, if you eat 1500 calories, you'd want to burn about 2000-2200 in order to lose weight.

Again, the good news is that those necessary chores around the house do burn calories. Here's a list of how many calories you burn doing common cleaning jobs as well as some of the more common physical activities normally associated with fitness and weight loss. These are average based and should be used only as a guide.

150
Physical Activity Calories/30 min Physical Activity Calories/30 min
Aerobics
207
Light gardening/yard work
118
Basketball - 1/2 court
203
Mopping
132
Basketball - competitive
236
Mowing (push mower)
162
Bicycling (<10 mph)
118
Painting
138
Bicycling (12-14 mph)
236
Playing w/kids (light)
88
Cleaning - general house
86
Scrubbing floors
163
Cleaning gutters
160
Swimming
175
Climbing stairs
306
Vacuuming
150
Dancing
133
Walking (3.5 mph)
112
Dancing - fast
171
Walking (4.5 mph)
185
Dishes
77
Wallpapering
159
Gardening (carrying heavy loads)
236
Washing the car
Golf (walking & carrying clubs)
133
Watching TV
36
Grocery shopping
122
Watering plants
120
Hiking
175
Weight training (moderate)
103
Ironing
77
Weight training (vigorous)
177
Jogging (5 mph)
236
Yoga
135

So, quit trying to find excuses to avoid housework, because those chores are a good way to lose some calories while doing what you probably should be doing anyway. Just 30 minutes a day focusing on the physical aspect of housework can help you burn calories, get fit and beat the battle of the bulge.

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