Working (out) Around the House

I’ve let my housework get a teensy bit behind lately and have spent the better part of today playing catchup.  In the middle of the frenzy, my cell phone alarm jingled, reminding me that it was time to go exercise.

Oh, really? Like sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, vacuuming, dusting, and moving furniture aren’t exercise? Puh-leeze.

While I was out walking (because rule #1* of Tippy Toe Fitness says: do NOT ignore the exercise alarm!), I wondered how vigorous housework measured up against other exercises (and I actually remembered to look it up when I got home, too!). I knew it wouldn’t be a one-for-one match-up, at least not with the way I clean house, but the comparisons in this article were quite surprising. My selected summary below:

Household Chore Calories Burned Equals This Much
(30 minutes) “Real” Exercise
digging in the garden 315 45 minutes flat-ground cycling
climbing stairs 285 19.5 minutes skipping
scrubbing the bathtub 200 45 minutes ballroom dancing
making beds 130 12 minutes jogging on treadmill
painting/decorating 160 25 minutes walking
washing windows 125 21 minutes power yoga
loading dishwasher 105 30 minutes light stretching
vacuuming 90 15 minutes kickboxing
cooking 80 9 minutes of tennis
ironing 71 11 minutes step aerobics
dusting 50 10 minutes salsa dusting

Gives new meaning to the notion of a “home gym”, doesn’t it?

I have no idea as to the scientific accuracy of these numbers, since calories burned depends on all sorts of variables, but it’s safe to say that when time is short (or your exercise alarm doesn’t go off), a little vigorous housework can still burn a significant number of calories and benefit your body.

AND you’ll have a sparkly house when you’re finished!

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a naturally sparkly house.)

So if you’re avoiding going to a gym or doing more formal exercises (for whatever your reasons), you might consider putting a little oomph! into your household chores.

Now I have to decide whether or not to go to the grocery store, where I can allegedly burn another 150 calories…nah, I’ll wait until tomorrow. I don’t want to overtrain! :)

Topical inquiry: Your favorite household task? Least favorite?

For me, washing dishes is relaxing, and I don’t mind it at all. Dusting, on the other hand, makes me very cranky.

*(rule #2: on a sunny, breezy morning, use any excuse necessary to get outside)

20 thoughts on “Working (out) Around the House

  1. I don’t mind vacuuming at all. I find it very satisfying. Laundry, on the other hand, I hate. :-)

  2. You are definitely not the only one! LOL Mine is usually okay, but sparkle is for special occasions. My favorite housekeeping task–cleaning and straightening bookcases. Least favorite–making beds I’ve always loved to read. When I was young, I’d always start by “cleaning” the bookcases in my room. I’d end up a million miles away lost in a book until I got a gentle reminded from my mom.

  3. Since I live with men/boys, I refuse to clean the bathrooms! I don’t make the mess so I am not cleaning it up after them! I guess I most like to clean the kitchen counters. If not for the junk and clutter and mess from my family, they would be pristine all the time. Today I cleaned before my book club and I enjoyed the few hours. Tomorrow it will quickly become a dirty mess again. Sigh.

  4. I love that you set a reminder on your phone to exercise!

    I don’t mind most household chores but cleaning the oven is rather an unpleasant job. I am thankful that I can do the cleaning and hey it burns a lot of calories and that is a bonus!

  5. I’m going to have to get an exercise alarm. Do they have ones that will kick me in the ass when I don’t get up and go?

    I don’t have a favorite household chore. I don’t mind washing the clothes as much as I hate folding and putting it away and I don’t mind doing the dishes as much as I hate washing the silverware. I have to go check my lottery ticket, maybe I can get a maid. My couch is full of clean clothes and my sink is full of silverware.

  6. My house is much more than a teensy bit grubby right now and you’ve given me a fabulous idea! We’re having hard rains and my walking partner cancelled earlier. (Did I put on the ol’ raincoat and walk by myself? You guessed it… no.) However…

    taking care of dust and dust bunnies right now = calories burned = sparkle in the house = a happier bird!

    My favorite chore is dishes. Most abhored/dreaded is vacuuming.

  7. I LOVE sparkly things. Oh, what would it be like to live in a sparkly house???

    I really like doing laundry. I don’t know why. Because my ‘laundry room’ is kind of like a cave. Not a clean cave.

    And I’m with you. I don’t like dusting, and this time of year it is VERY dusty around here. Cranky.

  8. I like doing laundry. I dislike dishes as much as my passionate dislike for anything to do with the bathroom. I think it would be neat to have a little bomb that you can set off in that room and close the door. Poof! And 15 minutes later everything would be tidy and sparkly clean. Ok I admit, I really want my bathroom back. The kids have been sharing mine. And this is the first time in all my adult life that I had my own bathroom. I was so loving it because I’m not messy. 😉 sigh… But laundry, bring it on! I like vacuuming too because I can get so lost in thought…. lol that equals super clean carpet!

  9. I didn’t feel too guilty about skipping the gym Saturday morning because I spent about 3 hours cleaning my apartment. I figured that was basically a workout!

    My place is almost never sparkly. I’ll let things go and go and pile up and get messy until I snap. Then I go OCD and clean *everything* – rearranging books on the shelf after dusting and sorting tshirt by colour. Maybe that’s why I let it build up? I know if I’m going to clean, I’m going to go all out and I know how long and how much energy it’ll take!

    I really like cooking. Is that a household task?!
    I like rearranging things and making it look all pretty. I don’t mind vacuuming (I like the smell the room has post-vacuum. Weird, I know!) And I don’t mind laundry. Cleaning the bathroom, though? Not very high on the “enjoyment” list!

  10. 150 calories to go to the grocery store. Hmm, the only problem is that wouldn’t go close to cancelling out the chocolate I would definitely come home with.

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  12. I hate housework & even though I knew some of this, I still rather go to the gym! :-) BUT, always good to know it & moving is better than not. Housework, it just gets dirty again the very next day.. drives me crazy! I don’t mind the laundry or taking out the garbage but dusting & vacuuming when it looks like you did not do it withing 24 hours.. UGH!

  13. Those stats seem impressive til I realize that this is for 30 minutes of a selected activity. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don’t spend a collective half hour doing dishes, dusting or going up/down stairs on a given day. But now yardwork, wow! Now I know why I feel more tired than usual after tending the garden on the weekends.

    And I hate loading the dishwasher. I load it like a surly 12 year-old with better things to do. The hubs hates when I do it to and usually waves me away. Strategy works! *wink*

  14. Yep, just goes to show that getting up and moving really works to burn those pesky calories. And, the best part about all of those activities, except cooking, is that it’s hard to do them while eating.

    For that reason, along with the sheer drudgery of it, plus the grocery shopping and cleaning-up that’s associated with it, I HATE TO COOK!!!

    I would pick the tennis instead if I had the choice. Just don’t make me wear one of the skimpy skirts with my thighs…..

  15. an extra workout and a sparkly house, you got a win-win situation going on!
    i hate unloading the dishwasher, i don’t know why. and dusting. i do not dusts. my boyfriend does both in self-defense.
    i love cooking and i don’t mind doing laundry. the rest of it i just do so that i don’t have to live in filth and squalor!
    i will say though that i love looking around when i’m done cleaning. it’s an easy way to accomplish something with clear results!

  16. Yes – the old aerobic housework gambit! I don’t mind laundry except for some reason folding the clothes out of the dryer. I love the results od a clean bathroom, but I don’t really enjoy cleaning it. Otherwise – I don’t mind cleaning as long as it stays clean for at least a couple of days – as if…

  17. Hi again. Love this post! Too funny!
    If you compare housework to working out, I think I burned a total of 22 cals today! hahahaha
    Going to the gym later though, that is where my “real” calorie burning takes place. :)

    Have a great day!!

  18. I like doing all chores ONCE or once-in-a-while. I like the satisfaction of a job well done and seeing things go from messy to clean. I just don’t like doing it all the time. I have 3 kids, a husband with selective vision, a German Shepherd, and a cat. My efforts are destroyed quite quickly. sigh

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