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Why Housework Is A Great Way To Exercise

Updated on June 7, 2014
Clean. | Source

The House

Housework refers to activities done both outside and within the home.

Outside of the house, chores include gardening and painting the exterior of the home. Tasks within the home include cleaning surfaces, washing dishes, and laundry.

Housework is a great form of exercise. Thinking of its benefits may help you feel better about devoting time to the tasks and give you reasons to smile as you check another chore off of your to-do list.


Here we have a two-for-one special. You clean your house AND you burn calories while you complete the chores.

Many people insist that they do not have time to exercise. They cite heavy work schedules and busy lifestyles as the culprits. Those excuses do not apply here. Get housework done and get in a workout at the same time.

No extra time is needed to drive to the gym. As well, if you have young kids, a babysitter does not need to be arranged in order for you to scoot to the aerobics class at the local recreation centre.

Whisk away the calories.
Whisk away the calories. | Source

Burn Calories

Housework is also a great exercise as the body movements engaged in the chores burn calories. We are not talking a small amount of calories either.

For example, a 150-pound person who vacuums for 30 minutes burns about 119 calories. A person of the same weight who cooks for one hour burns 136 calories. Think about the amount of whisking, chopping, and mixing you do when you prepare your meals.

These activities are ways that you burn calories.

The number of calories burned depends on the weight of the individual. People who weigh more tend to burn more calories during the same exercise session than someone of a lower body weight.

An All-Over Body Workout

Housework activities do not centre solely on one movement or one specific body part. The entire body is engaged as there are several items that are grouped into a list of household chores.

A typical one hour of household activities could include washing dishes, scrubbing floors, and cleaning windows. When you wash dishes, your abs are engaged and you tone your upper arms as you work to remove food particles from dishes.

When you clean floors, using your hands rather than a mop, you work your leg muscles as you squat down on the floor. You also stretch your torso as you scrub the floor.

While the cardio portion of your gym workout may include running on the treadmill, the equivalent form of exercise at home could be scrubbing the bathtub. Your arms and hands use a fast back-and-forth motion that raises your heart rate and you likely use your legs to balance as you bend over the tub. Calories are burned with the energetic movement.

A variety of chores.
A variety of chores. | Source


Variety is important to staying focused in an exercise routine. Boredom may set in when, for example, you do the same aerobic activity each time you work out. You are then less motivated to continue with the exercise. Housework provides variety that keeps you focused on the activities and burning calories. Anther reason here why housework is a great way to exercise.

Variety is provided both by the different body movements completed doing housework and also by the variety of the household tasks. From raking leaves to vacuuming to dusting wall hangings, there are many different types of activities that comprise the category "housework".

Keep your variety level high and keep your chores manageable by breaking household tasks into chunks. Assign different chores to different days of the week. Not only will you have a clean house at the end of the week, you will also have a variety of activities that increase your heart rate and burn calories.

No Money Needed

No money outlay is needed for housework, aside from the necessary cleaning supplies.

There is no gym membership, recreation centre drop-in fee, or gas needed to drive to the gym. You get the workout without having to pay to exercise.

As well, you can exercise in the comfort of your own home. For people who are self-conscious about working out around other people, this is an added benefit to using housework as a way to exercise.

Free. | Source

So Many Benefits

Housework is a great way to exercise for several reasons. The variety of tasks keeps you motivated, and you do not have to extend any money to engage in the activities. You clean your house at the same time as burning calories, and you work out your entire body rather than focusing on one muscle group. Clean house and enjoy the health benefits!

Do You...

Do You Enjoy Housework?

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    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Linda! Yes, we may as well look at the bright side of it while we clean :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      I very much agree. Housework is a great workout! We may not have time for exercise classes, but we have to do housework, so why not combine both!! Thanks, Linda!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Victoria Lynn, your comment has me laughing! Hmm perhaps a combo will be just what you need to motivate you :) Thanks hon for the vote and the laugh.

      @Kelly, Hi :) Thanks for sharing your experience. And for sharing my hub too! You take care of yourself and don't overdo it if you are feeling tired. Keep smilin'!

      @Emily, I totally agree with you about the satisfaction factor. I cleaned my bathrooms yesterday and it was a great feeling afterwards to see a sparkling tub. Quite the workout scrubbing that thing!

      @Daughter Of Maat, I must find out why your name is that. Yes, you can skip the gym on the day that you clean house. A workout and a clean house - now that's a good combo!

      @charmike4, you are quite right about saving money by cleaning up ourselves. Though having an extra hand now and then would be nice too.. Your point about learning the house's quirks is a good one, thanks!

      @Angela, Hehe love your comment! Hmmm let's do a test :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great. I don't like housework and I hate exercise, so maybe combining them is the way to go. :-) Clear, well-written hub. Many votes!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is so true ChristyWrites! As a diabetic I can have borderline high blood sugar and then clean the house completely and all of a sudden my blood sugar is low. That is a sign of an effective workout to me. Voted up, useful, and shared! Kelley

    • emilybee profile image


      6 years ago

      I listen to my country music while I clean :) I've heard cleaning dishes really burns those calories. I definitely feel my muscles working when I clean the bathroom, like the bathtub especially, you really have to exert a lot of strength to get rid of all the dirt and grime! Not at all my favorite task but after its clean you do get some satisfaction knowing it's clean, and knowing you burned some cals!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 

      6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I hate housework, but I hate it a bit less now. On days I have to do a lot of chores, like laundry, vacuuming, etc, I tend to skip my workout merely because I'm tired. But now I know why I'm tired! I just worked out! lol

      Thanks for writing this, I had no idea vacuuming burned that many calories!!

      Voted up and shared!

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I'm not sure of the total exercise benefits of cleaning, but any activity off the couch has got to be beneficial christywrites. Cleaning the house has other benefits as well - we bought the current house 3 years ago and by cleaning it we get a real feel for the quirks in the house and what needs repair! As you mention it's also a lot cheaper than paying someone $100 a fortnight to clean the house! Cheers Michael

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is a great article. Can we correlate thin people with clean houses? LOL

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Geraldine, I would argue that with your cleaning lady we can't just look at her exercise as we don't know what she is eating or her lifestyle outside of the time spent cleaning. As well, one person's idea of housework differers from another's. You are lucky to have a cleaning lady! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      In my opinion doing housework doesn't count as exercise. It doesn't get your heart rate up enough and won't make you any fitter. It will not increase your muscle tone in any significant way.

      My cleaning lady is 20 years younger than me, works six days a week and is overweight. Burning 100 to 150 kcal per hour is not very much at all.

      I go to Body Pump three times a week, and at 50, my BMI is below 20 and I have more muscle definition and more stamina than many younger women.

      If you enjoy doing household chores, then by all means, go for it, and have fun doing it.

      I don't.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Cara, thanks for stopping by to comment. Good idea wearing a pedometer to keep track of your progress as you clean. I'll cross my fingers for you to get that housekeeper very soon :)

    • profile image

      Cara Bristol 

      6 years ago

      I do think of housework as exercise. I wear a pedometer and I get quite a few steps vacuuming. However, I am tired of cleaning the house. I didn't used to mind it, but as soon as I can, I'm getting a housekeeper. I'll find another way to exercise.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hehe oh dear the "mop once, chew once" mentality! Thanks Hally for stopping by to comment and read :)

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Heh heh- good article! The problem is that I do many of my chores in the kitchen- and that leads to snacking!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hehe poor Marc! I won't come over with a white glove to check for dust :)

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Rajan, indeed housework does not have to be seen as being a completely negative task. Thanks for the great comment!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank-you Amy!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi Teaches, yes sometimes cleaning is a great way as well to get one's mind off of the stresses of the day. Thanks for the comment and read!

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      Meh, housework! Hate it, hate it, hate it.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Christy, truly housework needs to be praised for all the health benefits it provides to us at no cost. You have brought out the various aspects of working out by just doing housework so well.

      I loved this hub.

    • AmysAgriculture profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      Very interesting information and well written. Thanks for the informative hub. ;)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I have found housework to be relaxing at times and find myself humming as I do my chores. You are right, household tasks such as vacumming do burn lots of calories. Great information here and wonderful suggestions. Voted up.


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