How to Turn Your Household Cleaning Jobs into Calorie-Burning Workouts

Finding the time to exercise regularly is not easy when you have responsibilities at home and at work. But there is a way to get regular workouts without joining the local gym or pounding the pavements for hours at a time. Housework is a great way to burn calories, and if you do it right, you’ll never need to worry about exercise again.

A recent survey revealed that the average homemaker spends almost two and a half hours cleaning every day. So whether you love housework or detest it with a passion, you may as well take the opportunity to get in shape at the same time.

To put this opportunity into some context, compare various household cleaning tasks with walking at a moderate pace, which burns between 280 and 320 calories per hour. You’ll burn roughly the same number of calories gardening or washing your car. Vacuuming, dusting and cleaning windows at a reasonably fast rate can burn up to 200 calories per hour.

Whether you’re polishing, washing dishes or cleaning your kitchen floor, there is a great opportunity to get a calorie-burning workout at the same time. If you can modify the way you perform everyday household cleaning tasks, you’ll be able to enjoy a rigorous workout that even the most committed personal trainer would be proud of.


Your vacuum cleaner is not just a powerful cleaning tool, it can also be your passport to long-term fitness. If you’re prepared to keep up the pace, you’ll be able to burn up to 180 calories in just 30 minutes – the equivalent of a sugared donut or a pint of lager.

To make the most out of your vacuuming, make sure you’re extended your arm fully when pushing your Shark vacuum cleaner over the floor. Continue with big, deliberate movements, and remember to switch arms every few minutes. If you’re cleaning your stairs, you can stay safe by using the detachable unit of the Shark Lift-Away. Climbing up and down stairs could burn up to an extra 150 calories per hour, and it will also give you a great workout for your core, calves and triceps.


Cleaning your windows for half an hour could burn up to 150 calories, but you’ll need to make sure you’re working hard to achieve this kind of workout. Using a sponge or cloth, clean with large, circular motions. If you’re working hard, you will feel it in your shoulders, biceps and triceps. Cleaning your windows like this for 30 minutes is the equivalent of a 22-minute cycle ride If you have to stretch in order to reach the tops of your windows, you’ll also be giving your calves a great workout.


Dusting from a standing position can burn 25 calories in just 15 minutes. However, by moving quickly between fixtures, fittings and furniture, you should be able to increase this rate of burn considerably. Don’t forget to dust the tops of wardrobes, light fixtures and the tops of curtains, as the action of stretching and using your tip-toes will further increase calorie burn.


By making just a few changes to your everyday cleaning rituals, you’ll be able to maximise the health and fitness of housework.

  • Polish with wax rather than spray – As well as being better for the environment, polishing with wax will force you to rub harder. This will give your furniture an added shine, and increase the rate at which you burn calories.
  • Use your stairs as much as possible – Take the time to plan your housework carefully to ensure you have to climb up and down the stairs as much as possible. One way to do this involves cleaning one room downstairs, followed by one room upstairs… and so on.
  • Pump up the volume – Music is a great motivator during physical activity. Create a special housework playlist, and put it on every time you tackle your daily chores.
  • Use ankle and wrist weights – Making yourself heavier will increase the number of calories you burn while doing your housework.
  • Leave as much as you can on the floor – Rather than leaving laundry baskets and cleaning utensils at waist height for easy access, leave them on the floor. Constantly bending down to pick things up will increase the rate at which you burn calories. But don’t bend with your back; use your arms, thighs and buttocks to squat down.

If you’re doing the average of two and a half hours of cleaning every day, and you’re making an effort to step up your intensity levels, housework could be your new daily workout.

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