How to Turn Your Household Chores into a Workout


The saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ is one that will resonate with many of us. But, as we’ll reveal, a different saying – ‘tidy house, healthy body’ – may be just as appropriate.

It’s no secret that regular physical activity helps us keep in shape, and lowers the risk of disease. Joining a gym, taking up a fitness class or joining a local sports team are good ways to ensure we get the regular workout we need. They can help us stay motivated to keep on exercising and keep up a regular fitness regime.

But it can be hard putting time aside to exercise, particularly when you have a busy schedule. Life can sometimes get in the way of our best intentions, and the unexpected may prevent us from making that gym session we promised ourselves.

However, being busy doesn’t make exercise any less important to our health and well-being. No matter how hectic life may seem, undertaking regular physical activity remains crucial.

Health body the CDC recommends two and a half hours per week of moderate aerobic activity; but on those hectic weeks where you don’t have time to fit in a run or a workout on certain days, how can you make up the shortfall?

As this graphic explains, the answer may lie in – yep, you guessed it – housework.

Inspired by the recent World Athletics Championships held in London, the boffins at have created a visual guide which allows you to compare the calories burned when doing chores around the home, with athletics events.

The calculations were made using the MET value formula, for a person weighing around 155lb. The guide shows how long you would have to work at a specific chore in order to burn the same number of calories you would taking part in a track and field event.

The results offered a surprising way of thinking about your housework, like cleaning with a top quality upright vacuum, For instance, they found that:

  • Just 9 minutes of laundry could be compared to taking part in the pole vault event. You could burn over 20 calories whilst engaging the muscles in your core, shoulders, legs, and back.
  • Carrying your groceries for just 9 minutes could burn the same number of calories as running in the 400m race.
  • A couple of minutes of vacuuming and you could burn the same number of calories as if you’ve taken part in the 100m sprint.

Staying active

The nature of our modern lifestyles can lead us to spend more time taking part in sedentary tasks. Our day-to-day jobs outside of the home are not as physically demanding as they might have been in the past. More and more of us are taking a step away from hard labor and a step into the office.

Advances in technology have meant that more and more people spend their working day sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours or more. Technology has not only infiltrated our working lives but our social lives too. Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with our friends and family whilst also providing updates and commentary on global happenings; however, it can lead us to fall into the trap of sitting in front of a screen at work, only to return home and sit in front of a screen there too.  

Housework is by no means a replacement for regular exercise. And unfortunately, no matter how clean your house is, it won’t win you a gold medal out on the track. However, this light-hearted visual reference can work as a simple reminder that it is possible to keep active and moving on a daily basis in and around the home and garden.

If you find yourself with an occasional half an hour spare here and there, then you can get on top of your household tasks and get your body moving at the same time.

About Author


Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person. Lover of coffee, crime shows as well as humor. Loyalty, honesty and positivity is what attracts me to a person as that is what I try to project to others. Hard working and driven to a fault helps me help others and in turn helps myself in my daily work and life.

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6 years ago

Great article! It really makes doing household chores more fulfilling. Burning calories while vacuuming makes the entire chore a lot less stressful, and this goes for other chores as well. Thanks for sharing this. I honestly never thought about this before I get to read this post.

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6 years ago

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