« Health & Fitness

How Everyday Chores Can Burn Calories

by Christy Taylor

In a perfect world, we’d all have tons of free time to hit the gym or get in that home work out. Instead, we find ourselves doing things like the chauffeuring the kids around, folding laundry, vacuuming…you get the picture.

But there’s new research that suggests most of those things CAN count toward your recommended exercise per day.  We might not work up a sweat while shopping or doing housework, but every minute when we’re not lounging on the couch is another step toward good health.

By actively engaging yourself, you can pump up the calorie burn in just about any household chore. A total win win for this busy time of year! 

Shop around.
Whether it’s shopping for groceries or a new pair of shoes, shopping means walking, and walking burns calories (we’re talking 120 to 150 per half hour) [5]. Ready to boost the burn? Park as far away from the store’s entrance as possible to add some distance to the walk, and just say no to elevators and escalators. Bonus: Taking the stairs can burn more calories per minute than jogging. Try two at a time to really get things moving.

Clean house.
Vacuuming, sweeping, or Swiffering is good for 150 calories per hour. So throw on the tunes, add in some moves like Jagger, and blast away those dust bunnies and a few extra cals. Next, move that mountain of laundry by holding the basket in front of the body and twisting the torso side to side for a quick oblique workout. Extra credit: tuck jumps during the spin cycle.

Shake and bake.
Thirty minutes of chopping veggies or washing pots and pans may only burn around 75 calories, but add in some gluteus maximus isometrics (read: squeezing the butt), and the backside gets a workout, too. And don’t forget to ditch the electric mixer. Stirring the batter by hand will give the arm muscles some extra love.

Sit tight.
Sitting in class, meetings, or at a desk won't burn much on its own, so try putting those shoulder muscles to work by crunching them toward the ears [6]. Next, tighten the core and squeeze the butt, and let the muscle toning begin.

Stop hop.
Getting off the bus or train one stop early is an easy way to go the extra mile (and did we mention walking can burn around 120 calories per half hour?). Extra credit: Walk along the curb to improve balance and work the core (safety first, though!).

Wax on, wax off.
Washing the car can burn 135 calories in 30 minutes. Add in a few sets of calf raises to reach the roof of the car, along with a few sets of squats to wash the tires and the legs get a workout, too. Bonus: saving some cash by skipping the car wash.

Throw the snow.
Don’t let bad weather get in the way of a workout — aerobic exercise is just a shovel away [7]! Shoveling snow for 30 minutes can burn over 180 calories. Ready for more? Put on the headphones with some upbeat music to really pick up the pace.

Order up.
No need to wait for the cocktail waitress. Walk over to the bar and order those drinks on your own. Extra credit: While waiting for the bartender, stand on one foot. Not only will it work the core with some basic balancing, it might just be a handy way to measure tipsiness, too!
Of course, these are by no means the only ways to get moving day-to-day. Having an open mind (and a willing body!) is key to keeping active every day.

Now just to stay away from the holiday goodies, and you’ll stay fit and healthy all season long! 