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Household Chores That Burn Calories

a young man vacuuming carpet in his home

Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and cleaning the bathroom are not on most people’s lists of fun activities. But during the coronavirus pandemic, a clean home has taken on new importance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regularly disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces in your home.

It may help motivate you to know that while you’re cleaning, you’re also getting healthy exercise.

All kinds of physical activity – not just formal exercise programs – burn calories and strengthen muscles. As long as you’re working at something hard enough to get you breathing harder and your heart beating faster, you’re exercising. The more the better, but even just 5 minutes at a time adds up.

Make your household chores count by working at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping. A 150–pound person can burn about 150 calories an hour this way. Get the whole family involved to get the job done quicker and to help get everyone moving.

Yard work and gardening are also ways to burn calories and strengthen your arm, leg, and back muscles while crossing some items off your to-do list. Pushing a lawn mower, raking leaves, shoveling, and other outdoor chores can be an effective workout.

Just remember to warm up beforehand as you would with any exercise, and if you haven’t been very active lately, start slowly and work your way up.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.