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The Best Home and Garden Chores for Burning CaloriesThe Best Home and Garden Chores for Burning Calories


mowing lawn

With warm weather comes motivation to clean up the house and yard. This spring cleaning pays off by burning calories. A day of household chores can easily exceed the calories you burn during an hour at the gym.

  • Push mowing the lawn. If you have a lawn to mow, get out the push mower. You’ll blast 199 calories in 30 minutes. Compare this to the 51 calories burned during 30 minutes of using the riding lawn mower, and a little pushing and pulling is well worth your effort.

  • Digging in the dirt. Do you want to start a garden, or do you have new flowers or a tree to plant? Get digging! Digging burns 106 calories in 20 minutes.

  • Scrubbing it clean. You can get a full body workout while cleaning your tile floors, baths, and showers. Scrubbing that dirt and soap scum by hand for 30 minutes will burn 95 calories.

  • Vacuuming the floors. The pushing and pulling combined with a little squatting to get the dust bunnies under the couch will pay off in 128 calories burned in 45 minutes.

  • Mopping the floors. If you take your floor cleaning a step further and get out the mop, you will burn another 85 calories in 30 minutes.

  • Washing the car. Wash, rinse, repeat. Forty minutes of washing your car until it glistens in the sun will burn 114 calories.

An added benefit of household chores is that you rarely do one thing at a time. The same sunny day you mow the grass, you might also wash the car. When you vacuum, you usually mop too. Those calories add up! If you set aside the 3 hours and 15 minutes on a Saturday morning to do all of the things above, you’ll burn 727 calories, and you will have accomplished a lot around the house!

*All calculations are based on a 150 lb person. Use the Exercise Log to learn how many calories you burn for each spring cleaning activity based on your weight.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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