10 Household Chores To Help Burn Calories

    • Carrying Shopping With most women said to cover almost three miles on an average shopping trip, retail therapy can certainly work up a sweat – but once your purchases are home, you can also turn it into a mini workout. “The highest calorie burn will come from tasks that require you to use a lot of large muscle groups, such as carrying heavy items to and from the car – and upstairs,” says PT Tom Wheelhouse ( “Try to draw your shoulders back to ease the pressure on your back and neck when standing, and when lifting remember to bend your knees and use the strength in your legs.”

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 100 kcals

      “As with any exercise, you can progress the variables: load, frequency, duration etc,” says Tom. “So you might make extra trips upstairs carrying one bag at a time.” Or how about some bicep bag curls as you walk?

    • Dusting It’s said the average woman can spend 16 hours a week dusting, so although this is a light intensity movement, it can still count towards your overall ‘incidental activity’ total. Plus, it works your biceps, triceps and deltoids.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins):90 kcals

      Get a step stool and a feather duster, and stretch towards those hard-to-reach cobwebs to engage the lower back and tummy muscles.

    • Scrubbing The Bath Put some elbow grease into removing those tide marks and tone your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 150 kcals

      Try exaggerating the sweeping movements and use alternate arms.

    • Mopping Or Sweeping Push a mop or brush vigorously across the floor for an hour and you could burn the same calories as a weight lifting session, as well as test your abdominals. Plus, you’ll have a super sparkling floor!

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 140 kcals

      Get down on all fours and wipe with a cloth in a half plank pose to boost the burn in your shoulders, arms and abs.

    • Making Beds As anyone who has shaken out a king size duvet will know, bed making is the perfect bingo wing toner. Add pillow puffing, sheet tucks and bedside jogging into the mix – and multiply by two or three bedrooms – and you’ll have quite a fitness regime.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 130 kcals

      Try some bedside tricep dips, or carry each sheet and pillowcase downstairs separately to give you a Stairmaster workout in between!

    • Doing The Laundry Carrying dirty washing, loading it into the machine and hanging out soggy socks can all zap fat. “It’s recommended you do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, and you can burn approximately 2,000 calories a week doing house chores at moderate pace,” says PT Penny Pearce ( “A moderate pace means the body is slightly sweating and you can still hold a conversation comfortably. When loading or lifting laundry, ensure you squat slightly and tighten your core to protect your lower back.”

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 40 kcals

      “Just by being conscious of certain movements will make it slightly harder,” says PT and former dancer Samantha Prynn, co-founder of female only fitness concept “When picking something heavy up, practice a dead lift technique to engage hamstrings, glutes and core.”

    • Vacuuming The push and pull movement of vacuuming is great for your arms and core, and depending on the size of your house you could also be adding to your daily step total.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 100 kcals

      Wear ankle and wrist weights to burn up to 30 percent more calories.

    • Ironing You don’t just pump iron at the gym – smoothing out your clothes can be a good upper body strengthener. Pull your shoulders back and ensure you don’t curve or hunch your back in order to engage the core more.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 50 kcals

      Alternate arms and do squats or calf raises between each garment.

    • Cooking Chopping, stirring and lifting ingredients off the top shelf can all count towards your activity log, particularly if you make it more labour intensive by whisking or kneading by hand.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 50 kcals

      Use the time spent waiting for water to boil or the buzzer to chime to do some press-ups in the kitchen!

    • Washing Up Rinsing crockery in soapsuds at the sink can often involve standing for long periods, which is much better than adopting the ‘couch slouch’. Turning to add things to the drying rack can also involve a sneaky oblique twist if you keep tummy muscles tight.

      Estimated burn (per 30 mins): 70 kcals

      Have a spring clean and wash and dry that 25-piece dinner set that’s been collecting dust at the back of the cupboard.

    • Take The Chores Outdoors Don’t want to hoover on a hot day? Try these fat busting backyard moves:

    • Mowing “Cutting the lawn using a push mower uses the whole body and can burn up to 200 calories, the equivalent of a 20 min HIT session or 100 sit ups,” says PT Penny Pearce.

    • Cleaning Windows “Equivalent to 40 push ups!” advises Penny

    • Washing The Car Roughly 100 calories per half hour. “This chore also comes with a sense of achievement and pride that is sometimes missing in gym exercise,” says trainer Tom Wheelhouse.

  • Gardening “This has got to be the number one household chore,” reveals PT Sam Prynn. “Things such as raking, sweeping, or digging etc use your whole body, and roughly burn around 200 cals per 30 mins if working quite intensely. One of the best activities is weeding as you are activating a number of muscles including biceps, lats and if done correctly, your core.”


Rachel Caffarate