Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Housework helps you burn calories – Part 1

With our buzzing lives from working, socialising, housework, personal chores and trying to stay as far away from Covid-19 as possible, working out tends to take a back seat and the added pounds do sneak up. 

What if I told you there was a way you could multitask?

Let me let you in on a little secret —  household chores help you burn a decent amount of calories. So now you don’t have to feel guilty about missing your workout. 


Some form of physical activity is important for your overall health, not to mention the surge of serotonin and dopamine coupled with the release of toxins which makes it a double whammy! 

Did you know that doing housework at a moderate intensity can contribute towards the 150 minutes of weekly exercise doctors prescribe?

Doing household chores like vacuuming, mopping, dusting or laundry is not in vain.


Making a bed

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William McRaven. 

Making your bed every morning not only positively affects your mental health but also sets you up for a productive day. Changing your sheets, tightening your bed sheet and fluffing up your pillows can help you burn upto 100 calories. Imagine burning 100 calories in the first few minutes of the day. Nothing can beat that! 



Vacuuming is a great form of exercise, it works out your upper body, core muscles and legs. Because vacuuming requires you to use your arms it tones your biceps and triceps as well. If you want to heighten the physical effects of vacuuming try doing lunges or walking on your tiptoes or in a squat position while vaccuming. You could attach ankle weights to your feet or a waist trainer while vacuuming for a more intense burn. 


Tidying up

Tidying up your house has the added benefit of burning almost 250 calories an hour. While running around the house putting things in their place, carrying things from one place to another (the heavier the better) all adds up. Adding in a few bicep curls, squats or lunges can make this feel like a more satisfying workout. Doing household chores positively affect your brain health as well, keeping you alert, which in turn is linked to physical health. You can play your favourite music to lift your spirits. 


Dusting and Scrubbing

Dust has a sneaky way of showing up even when you feel like your house has just been cleaned. If you consider dusting for an hour, you can burn upto 150 calories plus have a cleaner house. If its deep cleaning day and you’re doing heavier scrubbing like washing windows or your artefacts, you will naturally burn double the amount of calories. Be sure to stretch out your back after as dusting or scrubbing involves a lot of time bending forward.


Sweeping and Swabbing

Mopping and sweeping is a great form of exercise for your shoulders, triceps, biceps and your core. Be sure to engage your core muscles as this will give you that extra burn and tone. For a more balanced burn try to switch sides once in a while.


Doing Laundry and Folding

Doing laundry and folding clothes for approximately one hour will burn 150 calories. Try squatting while loading and unloading your washing machine and dryer instead of bending your back. When lifting the heavy clothes baskets, push through your legs and keep your shoulders stable to align your posture. 

Who knew doing a simple task like laundry can help you squeeze in a workout?


Quick and easy ways to turn your housework into a workout

  • While performing any task, engage your core muscles and maintain good posture.
  1. Use proper body mechanics when doing pushing and pulling movements or lifting and carrying items.
  2. Use both your arms to do tasks. This gives you a balanced workout.
  3. You can add squats, pulses, toe raises, heel raises, leg raises, walking lunges, high knees and high kicks as you move around.
  4. Use ankle weights or a weighted vest to add an extra burn to your workout while improving your balance and strength.
  5. Instead of hunching or bending use a squat position.
  6. Turn up the volume. Crank up the music to boost your mood, energy, and motivation. Listening to music while going about your household chores makes it feel less like a chore and more fun. 


Performing household chores can also help you gain strength, boost your mobility, increase metabolism and even help you lose some weight. Your house, body, and mind will thank you for the burnt calories.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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