How Many Calories Does Housework Burn?

by Megan Smith

If you don't have time to hit the gym, that's no need to worry, because you can burn calories by doing those dreaded household chores. Although simple tasks like dusting and polishing probably won't help you break a sweat, more challenging chores that work your whole body may help you get back into shape. As an added bonus, you'll end up with a clean house. Consult your doctor before doing any vigorous housework if you have health problems.

Mopping the Floor

Each time you mop the kitchen or bathroom floor, you're strengthening and toning your biceps and shoulders. Mopping the floor for half an hour burns about 112 calories. If you get down and scrub the floor on your hands and knees, you'll burn even more calories. Scrubbing with a sponge or scrub brush burns about 200 calories.

Doing Yard Work

Working outside won't only give you some much needed fresh air after spending a day in the office. Yard work, like gardening and mowing the lawn, will also help get your body into shape. Gardening tones the muscles in the arms, legs and the back. If you work in the garden for an hour, you'll burn about 256 calories. Mowing the lawn works the shoulders, arms, core and legs, and burns about 160 calories per half hour.

Vacuuming the Rug

Vacuuming the floor helps work your arm muscles, but if you vacuum with one hand, you'll only work out one half of your body. Switch arms about halfway through your vacuuming session to give both arms a full workout. If you maintain good posture while you're vacuuming the floor, you'll also strengthen your abdominal muscles. Vacuuming for half an hour burns approximately 90 calories.

Washing Dishes

Offer to do the dishes tonight after dinner -- and if you're really set on burning calories, wash them by hand. Scrubbing the dishes by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher will burn approximately 160 calories in a half hour. Loading the dishwasher, on the other hand, burns about 105 calories per half hour. Because loading the dishwasher takes a shorter amount of time, doing the dishes by hand will give you a more effective workout.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or