DIY exercise – burn calories doing household chores

Been putting off those household jobs? Not only will your house be gleaming, you will be burning calories too.
housework workout

Each year, we promise to take our New Year’s resolutions more seriously, particularly the common goal of getting fit and healthy. Whether we finally join the local gym or force ourselves up for early morning exercise, it can be a struggle to find the spare time and cash to get fit. However, there is good news;  if you’ve decided to do some renovation this year, you may be on your way to a healthier you already. It’s clear you’re not getting out of lockdown anytime soon so take a look at how many calories you burn when doing odd jobs inside and outside the house.

The amount of physical work that it takes to transform your home and garden is often overlooked, depending of the size of the job; DIY work requires a considerable amount of energy. So if getting in shape is a priority this year, don’t put off your home improvement tasks. Rather than heading out for a run, get out the paintbrushes out and burn calories whilst doing it.

painting and decorating
Painting and decorating – that well known workout!

Painting a room – Calories: 306

To the plain eye, painting a room always appears to be a relaxing and serene task. It’s only when you’ve moved all of the furniture out of the way and are covered in splatterings of paint that the sweat becomes noticeable and you realise this wasn’t as easy as you thought.

On average, painting the walls burns over 1200 calories in four hours, and this excludes the energy needed for moving the decor and furniture out of the room.

Mowing the lawn – Calories: 376

We all know you can work up a serious sweat when mowing the lawn, particularly if you’re pushing around a heavy-duty mower and are lucky enough to have a nice, large garden. However, it still comes as a shock to see that we burn almost 400 calories in just one hour of mowing the lawn.

So when the time comes for you to cut the grass again, just remember how healthy it is for you. With summer just around the corner, it could become part of your regular workout.

Carrying heavy loads, such as bricks – Calories: 543

With any large-scale renovation comes substantial heavy lifting. Tradesmen often carry around heavy loads for hours at a time to get the necessary supplies on site. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself was once a bricklayer in LA and hired his bodybuilding friends to join his company, which emphasises the workout behind this activity.

Materials such as bricks, sand, cement and even wood can weigh an immense amount. You should always consider your limits as well as your method when carrying heavy loads. However, if carried out safely and correctly it can burn over 500 calories in an hour. This means, in a sense, that you can practice weightlifting whilst getting on with your renovation.

Carpentry – Calories: 237

Carpentry is a useful skill to have around the home. However, if you choose to hire a tradesman, it’s easy to overlook the energy needed for their work. Whether it’s building a new stairway or repairing the kitchen cabinets, carpenters are constantly exerting energy for their projects.

In general, carpentry burns over 200 calories in just one hour of work, meaning that a carpenter working an eight-hour day will have burnt 1,900 calories by the time they finish. That’s just under the recommended daily calorie intake for a woman.


Gardening – Calories: 339

Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, spring is definitely on the way. It will soon be the time of year to start planting in preparation for summer (if you haven’t started already). For those who love pruning and weeding, you will be pleased to hear that gardening burns almost 700 calories in only two hours.

This means if you squeeze a couple of hours of garden work into your weekend routine, you will not only have a beautiful garden but you’ll feel fantastic too.

Cleaning – Calories: 171

Even a little light cleaning could contribute to your fitness goal. In only 60 minutes, you will burn just shy of 200 calories, and that’s for light jobs such as dusting or hanging clothes. If you add in activities that involve a little more vigour, such as vacuuming or washing the car, you can burn even more and give the house an early spring clean at the same time. For a more intense workout, why not give your property a top-to-toe clear out?

Building – Calories: 376

Construction is particularly tough if you’re working outside at this time of year. On top of dealing with the cold weather, construction and remodelling projects can involve carrying heavy materials, building, and operating heavy machinery.

Even a short six-hour shift will burn over 2,200 calories, meaning those who work full days in construction will burn well over their recommended daily allowance of calories. If you’re planning any large scale renovations this year, perhaps ask how you can help if you’re looking to get fit.

Plumbing – Calories: 237

Even plumbing burns more calories than meets the eye. Of course, the size and type of project affects the calories burned. However, whether pipes need installing, a toilet needs unblocking or a simple leak needs stopping, on average plumbing burns over 200 calories an hour. This means that plumbing for a full working day will burn just under 1,900 calories.

Moving furniture
Household chores are a workout for him as well as her.

Moving furniture – Calories: 408

If you’ve found a new home this year and are looking to improve your fitness, then perhaps consider moving some of the furniture yourself. Just an hour of moving furniture burns an average of 408 calories, which in terms of exerted energy, is similar to playing 50 minutes of tennis.

And that’s not all: moving household objects and boxes can burn around 478 calories an hour, so a re-arrange is a great opportunity to help work off those Christmas curves. Do be sure to hire extra help for those larger, heavy objects if needed, however. Even most removal companies won’t touch a grand piano unless they have the equipment to do it safely.

Sweeping – Calories: 269

Be it collecting dust within the house, or brushing away the autumn leaves on the patio, sweeping is a quick and simple method to burn off those unwanted calories. Just 30 minutes of sweeping will burn an average of 135 calories.

Last modified: February 17, 2021

Written by 12:27 pm Fitness • One Comment