Effective Exercises You’re Probably Already Doing Regularly

When we think of exercise and fitness, we often take a structured view of it: hitting the gym three times a week, or getting out for a jog with the sunrise. However, it turns out that you may be getting a fairly decent workout just by doing what you already do.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider extracurricular workouts if you have a particular health goal in mind or just want to feel your best. However, let’s take a look at seven everyday chores you’re probably already doing that are actually burning quite a few calories…

1. Cleaning

This may actually be less fun than hitting the gym for some people, but sweeping, mopping and vacuuming can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Shape.com uses an example of “spring cleaning” (don’t worry, it’ll be here before we know it) for reference, noting it can be quite a workout.

The source says washing floors can burn up to 187-calories per 30-minutes, while pushing around a vacuum can eat up 119-calories every 30-minutes. Sweeping can take care of 136-calories per 30-minutes, while cleaning windows is pegged at 167-calories in 30-minutes. Put those all together over a day of cleaning, and you should be feeling pretty fit!

2. Walking the Dog

According to a post from Dr. Dawn Marcus on Sharecare.com, walking the family dog can burn up to 250-calories per hour. In comparison, if you let your dog run around your backyard instead while you sit on the couch, you’ll burn about 85-calories in the same time frame, it adds.

The calorie burning will always vary depending on your height and weight, it explains (it estimates 204-calories per hour for a 150-pound person). This doesn’t take into account whether you take a very hilly route, or if you’re walking a big dog you have to keep under control (when it sees a squirrel). As a reference point, a can of cola is around 200-calories. A fast food burger with cheese can be more than 700-calories, so walk your dog twice!

3. Shoveling Snow

This will be a popular one for this time of year, especially for the people who live in the northern reaches of the U.S. Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, so first off, make sure you lift with your legs and don’t hunch over for risk of injury.

Now that we have the health and safety message out of the way, just how many calories can one burn while shoveling the white stuff? According to Reader’s Digest, you can burn off around 415-calories per hour while getting that heart pumping!

4. Gardening

This one may seem a bit counterintuitive, we mean – how hard can gardening be? Well, turns out it’s quite a sweat-breaker (especially if it’s hot outside). For some Americans, gardening is a spring dream, while others may still be tending to their gardens in the south.

WebMD says that gardening that involves pulling weeds and planting flowers can burn from 200 to 400-calories per hour, while mowing the lawn can erase up to 350-calories in an hour (even more if you opt for a push mower). Raking and bagging leaves ranks up there too at 350 to 450-calories per hour.

5. Washing Dishes

No, we’re not talking about loading dishes into the dishwasher and letting the machine do all the work, although that surely counts for something. However, if you do dishes old-school style (i.e. using sinks to hand-wash and hand-dry each item), then you’ll knock off about 100-calories per 60-minutes, explains Health.com.

If doing the dishes by hand is just a little too daunting for you, then try multitasking – watch some television and then hit the sink to tackle some greasy plates, and then back to the couch for a breather, suggests the site. You’ll be done the dishes before you know it, and you’ll be caught up to the latest drama on your favorite show.

6. Grocery Shopping

Instead of walking the dog in the park, taking the grocery cart for a walk in the supermarket can also turbocharge your metabolism, explains Livestrong.com. “You might disdain rushing through everyday errands, but as you zip around the supermarket or wait for an available cashier, your body is burning calories,” it notes.

That being said, a person who weighs 155-pounds can burn 130-calories in 30-minutes while pushing a shopping cart around, according to the source. Even just standing in line waiting to pay can torch 47-calories in 30-minutes (but we hope you’re not stuck in a line for that long). Oh, and when you get home and cook that family dinner, you could be burning 93-calories every half hour in the process.

7. Washing and Folding Laundry

A site called DietBites.com breaks down just how strenuous doing laundry can be. It says that 150-pound people will wash away about 37-calories every 15-minutes of loading clothes into the machine and switching them into the dryer (that’s 148-calories per hour if you don’t feel like doing the math). Hanging clothes outside actually will burn more calories, “due to the bending involved,” it explains.

You’ll burn the same amount of calories in the same time frame by folding the clothing and putting it away, adds the source. Laundry is something that both men and women can partake in – and a heavier person will burn more calories doing laundry, as you can see by the handy chart on the site.

Jeff Hayward

Jeff Hayward

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience writing professionally about health, travel and the arts among other subjects. He continuously looks to improve his own overall health through exercise, diet and mindfulness. He is also a proud stay-at-home dad that loves taking photographs both professionally and as a hobby.