Everyday Activities That Count As Workouts

I used to spend all of my money and time rushing to the gym and ignoring my household chores. Little did I know that many of my routine activities—such as vacuuming, shoveling snow, and grocery shopping—actually burned about as many calories as 30 minutes on a treadmill.

So now I don’t kill myself to get to the gym over washing my car or gardening. No, if I can, I fill my waking hours with the following 10 activities that can actually be considered workouts…


You’re down in the dirt on your knees, lunging forward to pick tomatoes, or reaching to prune shrubs. You bet after a few hours, you’re burning some decent calories. In fact, a few hours of gardening can burn 650 to 800 calories, and you’ll further benefit from the fresh fruit and produce you’re growing as well.

Snow Shoveling

If you live in a warm climate, you may not have considered the health benefits you’re missing out on. Did you know that snow shoveling for just 30-minutes burns roughly 200 calories? Not to mention all of the resistance training you’re getting by pushing and lifting heavy shovels of the white stuff.

Washing the Car

Don’t let the kids get all the active benefits of shining up the family vehicle. Soaping up your car with a bucket, sponge, and hose will burn approximately 120-calories in just 30-minutes—even more if you wax!

Grocery Shopping

You might not consider shopping a workout. However, pushing a cart up and down the aisles at the market will burn an impressive 250-calories. And you can reap the benefits if you’re sticking to fresh produce, lean proteins, and nutritious grains. Just think of the extra calories you’d sweat off if you walked a few blocks to your local grocery store and toted your bags home.


Did you kids track mud into the house again? Or was it the dog or your spouse this time around? It doesn’t matter, because every time you fire up the vacuum cleaner and give your floors a whirl, you’re burning approximately 100 calories in a half hour.

Mowing the Lawn

Aside from sitting astride a riding mower (only the push variety counts here) you can shed about 350 calories mowing your lawn. Take an extra 20-minutes and rake up the grass clippings for an additional 150-calories burned.


You don’t have to ignore that thin layer of dust on your shelves and coffee table any longer. You can avoid the gym and chase dust bunnies at home instead, plus you’ll burn about 100-calories if you really get into those forgotten corners.


It turns out that a fresh coat of paint does more than just brighten up the mood in your dining room. Slapping on a bright, new color will transform your abode and help you burn 1,000 calories by the time you apply that second coat.


Be the friend that always jumps at the chance to help friends and family move. You’re buddies might think you’re just a super nice person. They don’t have to know you’re actually doing it to burn about 500-calories per load of furniture successfully moved down treacherous stairs.


Of course, after all of those chores you deserve some cozy time with your special someone. Don’t feel guilty, a 30-minute smooching session will burn about 30-calories—50-calories if it’s really vigorous!


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.