The Fit Family Chore List

Get double the benefit when you put the family to work on these chores!

Boy in living room using vacuum cleaner
Westend61 / Getty Images

Busy families love multitasking—how else would we get anything done? So when you're facing a big household chore list, remember that taking care of all those tasks will also help you get in your workout for the day. Kids can and should help: You'll finish faster, they'll learn something new, they'll get some physical activity, and they'll feel important (deep down, underneath the grumbling). These chores, in particular, top the list of calorie-burners and strength-builders:

1. Painting and Household Repairs

Some fixes are best left to the pros, but you can handle prepping and painting a room. Kids can help, and are usually motivated to do so if they're working on their own rooms! You'll feel this one in your arms, shoulders, back, and legs (so, pretty much all over).

2. Lawn Care

Even a power lawn mower takes some human power to push, plus you're getting in some steps as you go. For a better workout and less pollution, get an old-fashioned push mower. But remember that kids under 12 should not operate a lawn mower (and they should be at least 16 to drive a riding mower). In the fall, raking leaves is a chore that the whole family can help with.

3. Pet Care

Walking the dog: More steps! Playing with your dog: Physical activity for both humans and canines! Even if you don't have a dog, pet care tasks like cleaning cages and tanks can burn some calories and also help kids learn responsibility.

4. Spring Cleaning

While everyday cleaning certainly requires muscle (seriously, why do I sweat more when I vacuum than when I'm swinging kettlebells?), the bigger jobs offer an even bigger calorie burn: washing windows, cleaning underneath furniture and appliances, flipping mattresses, reorganizing the garage or basement, and so on.

5. Gardening

Even if you don't have much outdoor space, involving kids in gardening activities and tasks can be very rewarding. They usually include fresh air, dirt and/or sticks, and water (dumping and spraying), plus you get pretty flowers and plants or home-grown vegetables out of the deal.

6. Laundry

My kids enjoy calling me "Santa" when I stuff all our family's laundry in one big sack and haul it down the stairs. That's my cue to put them in charge of emptying hampers, stripping beds, collecting towels, and ferrying everything to the laundry room. Kids can also help sort dirty clothes, fold clean clothes and return them to their proper places, and make beds. And they can help pack away out-of-season clothing and set aside too-small items to be saved as hand-me-downs, sold, or donated.

Continue Reading