How to Burn More Calories Cleaning House

Use a housecleaning workout to burn more calories doing chores

housecleaning to boost metabolism
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Did you know that you can increase the number of calories burned cleaning house? It’s easy to do with a just a few simple changes to your routine.  Most household chores burn calories using some of the same physical movements that you do in the gym. With a few small adjustments you can get a full body workout, build muscle and burn more calories while you tidy up your home.

The Number of Calories Burned Cleaning House

Listed below are the most common housecleaning jobs along with the number of calories that a 150-pound person would burn while performing those household chores.

For comparison purposes, it’s helpful to know that a 150-pound person burns about one calorie per minute while sitting on the couch and watching television.  Most cleaning activities burn 3-4 times that. 

The House Cleaning Workout

To burn more calories while you clean house, add the challenges listed below each activity.  In most cases, you’ll challenge your stability and engage your core to complete them. The result?  You’ll get a tighter midsection, stronger legs and a more stable body. Sound good? Grab your rubber gloves and start cleaning!

Calories Burned Vacuuming or mopping: 4 calories per minute.
How to burn more calories: Step into a full lunge each time you reach the vacuum or mop forward.  Bring the legs back together when you pull the vacuum back.
Muscles used:  A lunge uses most of the major muscles in your lower body. You will also engage the abdominal muscles to balance while moving in and out of your lunge.

Calories Burned Scrubbing surfaces or wiping counters: 4 calories per minute.
How to burn more calories: If the surfaces that you need to clean are over your head, you probably already need to stand on your toes to reach them.  But you can also stay on your toes when you move to lower counter-level surfaces.

Then give your calves a break and stand on one leg only while you wipe down surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom.
Muscles used: Standing on your toes engages the calf muscles and helps to shape the lower leg.  If you can balance while you are on your toes, you also engage your core muscles to stay upright.  When you stand on one leg and extend the other leg out to the side, you engage the gluteal muscles that wrap around your hips. These abductor muscles help to shape your hips and buttocks.

Calories Burned Dusting floorboards or cleaning low spaces: 4 calories per minute
How to burn more calories:  When you are on your hands and knees, try not to sit back on your feet or hips, but stay up in an “all-fours” position.  This is the same position from which you would perform a cat-cow exercise in yoga class.  Extend one arm to clean or wipe surfaces and alternate sides.  For an extra challenge, extend the opposite leg behind your body as you would in a bird-dog exercise.
Muscles used: With the leg extension, you engage the muscles in your butt, your abs and your lower body to perform this cleaning exercise.

  Without the leg extension, you’ll use your back and abdominal muscles.

Calories burned climbing stairs while carrying 1-15 pounds: Burns 6 calories per minute.
How to burn more calories:  If you have a laundry basket or cleaning tools that you need to carry from floor to floor, use a walking lunge to ascend the stairs.
Muscles used: If you are carrying a load in front of you, you’ll build strength in your upper body and shoulders.  The lunge activity will help to shape the hamstrings (back of your leg) and gluteal muscles that shape your buttocks.

Calories burned making beds:  Burns 2 calories per minute
How to burn more calories:  Perform a side lunge while tucking sheets on each side of the bed.  Fluff pillows and straighten blankets in a balanced Warrior III pose.
Muscles used: The side lunge will engage most of the muscles in the lower body, but will target the adductor and abductor muscles on the inside and outside of your thighs.  The Warrior III pose will help you build strength in your legs, back and abdomen. 

Total Calories Burned Cleaning House

As an estimate, a 150-pound person will burn 200 calories per hour while doing housework.  But these variations will help you burn more.  In addition, you learn to engage your core and use balance activities to boost the benefit of any daily activity.  While I wouldn't necessarily recommend household chores as your regular weight loss workout, you can do this housecleaning workout on days when you can’t make it to the gym.

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