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Basic House Cleaning Better Than The Gym?

Updated on May 3, 2013

I may not have been around in the 1920/30's but I couldn't help but notice that housewives back then were quite thinner than today's average housewife! It got me to thinking... What changed that made the over-weight & obesity levels in women go up so much? While diet has a lot to do with it, so does basic house chores.

In The 1920/30's

House chores took more time & more effort back then. There also wasn't as many distractions to keep one from slacking off! Back then, very few women did work outside the home. They took care of the kids, the house & the husband. An average married woman's day would consist of home cooked meals, floor scrubbing, window washing, gardening & chasing after the kids. They would spend a good 4 to 6 hours a day just cleaning alone! I know that sounds insane, but women back then were certainly in better shape then they are now! Cooking/baking alone burns up to & over 250 calories an hour and those women did it 3 meals a day! Many women even taught their kids school from the home.


The average wife & mother now has to have a part-time or even full time job outside the home. A high percentage of those jobs consist of desk work or low impact moving. The wives & mothers blessed enough to stay home tend to do less house work compared to their mothers & grandmothers. Food is readily prepared so many choose to do "easy-bake" meals over home cooked ones. Schools are now everywhere so mothers do not have to home school their children. Technology has made life easier in terms of house care/ house cleaning needs. The average American mother is 30 pounds or more over weight, & the average American wife (no kids) is an average of 15 pounds or more over weight.

Height & Weight Chart (Women)

Small frame means both shoulder & hip bones are small. Medium frame means either shoulder or hip bones are big. Large frame means both shoulder & hip bones are big.
Small frame means both shoulder & hip bones are small. Medium frame means either shoulder or hip bones are big. Large frame means both shoulder & hip bones are big.

Breaking It Down!

Life styles of the typical wife/mother have greatly changed since the 1920s & 1930s. Some things were for the better, while others were for the worse. It can be debated among different women who prefer different things, however, one thing we can all agree on is the average wife simply does not get enough exercise.

If we look as basic house chores, you can see how greatly they can impact your waistline vs going to the gym 3 times a week or walking on a treadmill at home. Our bodies are designed to move & are not designed to be at rest for 8+ hours a day! You do not need to go to a gym or buy expensive equipment to get in shape & stay in shape. You don't even need to alter your eating habits as much as you would think, though I would recommend it for over all health!

Calories Burned ( House Cleaning/Body care)

This is based on a 155 pound woman. If you weigh more, you will burn more, if you weigh less, you will burn less. These numbers are over all averages. The harder you work, the more you burn, the less you work, the less you burn. This is going at a moderate pace.

  • Vacuuming the floors of your home for one hour burns 165 calories.
  • Scrubbing the floors of your home for one hour burns a whopping 350 calories.
  • Folding laundry & putting away clothes for one hour burns 120 calories.
  • Washing the windows for one hour burns 200 calories.
  • Dusting for one hour burns 160 calories.
  • Baking/cooking (home cooked meals) for one hour burns 260 calories.
  • Cleaning the bathroom for one hour burns 250 calories.
  • Sweeping floors for one hour burns 150 calories.
  • Mopping for one hour burns 170 calories.
  • Washing the dished for one hour burns 100 calories.
  • Making the bed for one hour burns 90 calories.
  • Moving furniture/lifting heavy items up & down stairs for one hour burns 530 calories.
  • Styling your hair for one hour burns 100 calories.
  • Showering for one hours (scrubbing/washing not standing still) burns 80 calories per hour.
  • Mowing the lawn for one hour burns 300 calories per hour.
  • Planting seeds/flowers/trees in a garden for one hour burns 200 calories.
  • Ironing clothing for one hour burns 100 calories.
  • Watering plants for one hour burns 100 calories.
  • Bathing your dog (standing) for one hour burns 160 calories.

Looking at the above numbers, we will likely not have an hours worth of time for any of those daily tasks, but if you spend an hour a week on each one you will be burning 3636 calories! That is a pound of fat a week! Some chores will take longer than 10 minutes (one hour per 6 days) a day, which will then increase the calories burned for the week. Amazing right!? That is not even including the muscle toning you will be doing! So doing basic chores each day for 1 hour will end up burning more calories than going to the gym 3 days a week (for one hour each day).

Bottom Line

If you spend the time to clean your house each day, or at least every other day, you will be more fit & even begin to lose weight. All's it takes is an hour of house cleaning & chores a day to see a difference in your waistline. Wives, mothers, and women of all ages can benefit from this! You will not only be able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans in no time, but you will have one of the cleanest houses on the street! Why waste time on that treadmill or at the gym when you can actually be getting something done while losing that unwanted weight?

Happy cleaning! :)


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    • Happymommy2520 profile image

      Amy 18 months ago from East Coast

      Great article and very beautifully written. Being active keeps you fit. One way to stay active is cleaning, it is know by many as actual exercise for your mind and body. Great read!

    • ii3rittles profile image

      ii3rittles 4 years ago

      Thanks for your comment leni sands! I am glad it is helping you out. And yes, sleep... So important. When I was on a regular schedule, going to sleep by 11 I felt so much better but now that I am back to staying up till 2, 3, 4 in the morning... I can feel the difference. I honestly feel so tired all day long. When we train our bodies to go to sleep a few hours after the sun goes down, everything just seems to function better. We aren't meant to be nocturnal! lol

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 4 years ago from UK

      Great hub! While I've been off work for the last 8 weeks with Stress and Depression my house has probably never been so clean. Apart from the time I spend on hubpages and other internet activities I spend the rest of the time scrubbing and cleaning but my weight aint budging - sleep is also an important ingredient to weight loss and that is something I am not getting. I will continue with the housework and will try to get some sleep otherwise I will be stuck at my current weight forever. I am going to use this hub as a guide so I am bookmarking it - thanks for writing it...

    • ii3rittles profile image

      ii3rittles 4 years ago

      Thank you for your comment Marcy! :)

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Nice guideline and tips to get us moving productively! I also like that you include the 155-pound average concept - that's indeed the size of many women today. Great information! Voted up and up!

    • ii3rittles profile image

      ii3rittles 4 years ago

      Thanks you! & Thank you for your comment My Cook Book! :)

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Perfect and informative. This is great, every house chore is an exercise. A well written hub and i am voting it UP...

    • ii3rittles profile image

      ii3rittles 4 years ago

      Thanks for the comment pinto2011... Does she not like cleaning or?

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      The idea is great and really make it worth doing so, but I can never make my wife understand so.