The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week.
Did you know that 30 minutes of housework is considered moderate exercise? Who knew that getting your home into shape could get you into better shape, too? A recent study in the United Kingdom found that the primary caretaker of the home spends up to 143 minutes cleaning each week. So now that the winter hibernation is over and it’s time for our spring cleaning, let’s take a look at how your household chores can burn calories and improve your fitness. Remember to keep your abdominals tight to work your core and protect your spine.
Spring Chores and the number of calories burned in 30 minutes
- Dusting: 50
- Ironing: 70
- Vacuuming: 90
- Cleaning windows: 125
- Mopping: 250
- Painting and decorating: 285
- Washing car: 43
- Gardening: 144
- Weeding: 145
- Raking leaves: 225
- Digging: 315
Who knew (maybe grandma) that all these spring chores and activities could be so beneficial and meet all the requirements of the surgeon general? This does not get you off the hook for a poor diet, improper rest, and other unhealthy habits, but it definitely can help in improving your overall well-being.
If you’re looking for more interesting, higher-intensity chores, here are some suggestions:
- Set a timer for 30 minutes to make sure you get the required amount of moderate exercise to realize cardiovascular and strength benefits. This also will allow you to pace your activities so that you don’t do too much at once. Spring is one of the busiest times for orthopedic medicine; pacing yourself is critical to avoid an overuse injury.
- Create a music playlist that goes for 30 minutes. Not only will this help with pacing your activities, but you also can add a dance step to your cleaning. (For all those of you with two left feet, make sure you close the blinds!)
- Anytime you pass stairs, do one lap up and down to increase the number of steps you take each day.
- When picking something up from the floor, do a full squat to help increase your mobility and strength. If you have young children, you’ll be doing squats throughout the day.
- While waiting for something in the oven or the microwave, do push-ups on the countertop. (For proper execution of squats and push-ups, reference our bodyweight blog
- While doing dishes, do three sets of 10 calf raises to increase the strength in your lower extremities and feet.
- When grocery shopping, park farther away from the store to encourage more walking.