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Calories Burned Doing Household Chores

The calories burned while you're doing household chores can really add up. In fact, many household chores burn just as many calories as workouts do. Here's how some of your household chores stack up in terms of calories burned.

Yard Work

Yard work offers some of the most labor intensive household chores. Tasks like digging and raking the leaves not only burn a lot of calories but can help tone muscles in your arms and legs. Here are some statistics:

  • 30 minutes of digging in your yard will burn about 315 calories, the same amount burned by 45 minutes of bicycling on flat terrain. Digging tones the muscles of your calves, thighs, arms and shoulders. If you do it vigorously enough and continue the activity for 20 minutes or more, you can raise your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  • Washing your car works your arms and abdominals. For every 30 minutes of car washing, you'll burn 143 calories.
  • Weeding for 30 minutes burns 115 calories, the same amount you'd burn in 15 minutes of weight training. Weeding tones your thighs and buttocks. Just be careful to bend with your legs while keeping your spine straight, or you could hurt your back.
  • Raking leaves for 30 minutes burns 225 calories. The resistance offered by the leaves makes this chore a type of weight training. Raking leaves tones all the major muscle groups in your body.

Indoor Chores

Chores you do inside the house also help to burn calories. Here's how many calories are burned in the course of performing your daily tasks:

  • Scrubbing the bath for 30 minutes burns 200 calories. Removing that stubborn soap scum from your tiles is a great way  to tone the muscles of your arms and shoulders.
  • Carrying shopping bags for 30 minutes burns 190 calories, and maybe more if the bags are particularly heavy. Distribute the weight evenly on each hand, or swap back and forth at regular intervals. Carrying too much weight on one side won't just overdevelop those muscles, it could injure your spine.
  • Making beds for 30 minutes burns 130 calories, the same number you'd use if you jogged on a treadmill or on flat terrain for 15 minutes.
  • Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns 125 calories, the same number used in 20 minutes of power yoga (about one-third the length of a typical power yoga class).
  • Loading the dishwasher for 30 minutes burns 105 calories, which is less than the 160 calories burned when washing them by hand.
  • Vacuuming for 30 minutes burns about 90 calories, the same amount you'd burn in 15 minutes of kick boxing.
  • Dusting for 30 minutes burns about 50 calories.
  • Ironing for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories and tones the muscles of the upper body. Stand up straight at the ironing board and press down firmly. Switch hands periodically so you don't overdevelop one arm.

Other Calorie Burners

Here are some other activities that burn surprising amounts of calories:

  • Climbing stairs for 30 minutes burns about 285 calories.
  • Painting and decorating your home burns about 160 calories.
  • Showering and toweling off for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories.

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