Make Your Home a Calorie-Burning Haven

Our great-great-grandparents burned twice as many calories as we do—and they did it without a 30-minute workout and gym fees!

Researchers set up a historical village at a theme park north of Sydney, Australia, to simulate life as it was for early European settlers. Their results were astonishing: the settlers walked up to 10 miles more each day–and burned 2.3 times as many calories–as modern Australians who go to office jobs.[i]

So, how can you burn calories like an old-time settler? Do household chores! It’s an easy way to make movement a natural part of your life, and you’ll lose weight to boot! Here’s a guide to how many calories a 150-lb. person burns per hour in common household tasks:

Beautify your yard
Dump the riding lawnmower and push instead: 430 calories.
Rake the front yard: 285 calories
Pull some weeds: 320 calories
Trim the shrubs and hedges: 320 calories
Tend the garden: 285 calories

Get your house spic-and-span
Sweep the floor: 285 calories
Now, mop: 250 calories
Better yet, use some elbow grease and scrub!: 270 calories
Vacuum: 250 calories
General light cleaning: 241 calories
Heavy cleaning: 432

Makeover your home
Rearrange the living room (moving furniture): 500 calories
Paint the spare bedroom: 320 calories

Stay warm in winter
Chopping wood: 430
Ice scraping: 240
Shoveling snow: 430
Stacking wood: 360
Using a push snow blower: 320

Reward yourself with cookies
Bake using manual appliances: 145 calories

By spending just two hours working in your yard and two hours cleaning your home each week, you’ll burn approximately 1,150 extra calories per week.[iii] Keep that up all year, and you’ll lose 17 pounds–without dieting or going to the gym.

Plus, your house and yard will look amazing.


[i] Australia. Egger, G.J.; Vogels, N.; Westerterp, K.R., Estimating historical changes in physical activity levels. Med J Aust. 2001 Dec 3-17;175(11-12):635-6.

[ii] American Cancer Society calorie calculator based on data from the American Heart Association, Calorie Control Council, National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute,; Farmer’s Almanac guide to spring and winter chores,;

[iii] Based on calories burned by a 150-lb. person during two hours of cleaning, at 250 calories per hour, and two hours of mixed yard work, at 350 calories per hour

October 1, 2011

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