If you can't make it to the gym and can't get motivated to work out at home, simple household chores and yardwork can be a way to add fitness to your day — with the bonus of a sparkling house and immaculate yard. Below are 15 of the best common calorie-burners, according to calculations provided by CalorieLab.com. Numbers are based on estimates for a 160-pound person.
Calories burned: 236
Take heart, especially if you live in a walk-up or have an upstairs kitchen: A half-hour of hauling groceries upstairs will burn 236 calories. Carrying bags of groceries upstairs is especially effective because it combines cardio and strength training.
Calories burned: 182
There's little time to go to the gym during a big move, but that might be for the best. Carrying all those boxes and moving furniture can torch 182 calories in a half-hour. Squat while bending down to pick up heavy objects to burn more calories as well as avoid straining back muscles.
Calories burned: 164
Walking behind a typical self-propelled power mower for just 30 minutes can obliterate 164 calories. Increase the burn to 182 calories by using a push mower instead. Just skip the temptation to splurge on that riding mower, which results in a calorie burn of only 52 calories in the same amount of time.
Calories burned: 146
Cleaning gutters probably ranks pretty low on most people's preferred ways to spend the weekend, but there is an upside. Just a half-hour of doing this dreaded job will burn 146 calories. Even better, climbing and grabbing to complete the task engages muscles throughout the body, and staying balanced on a ladder engages core muscles.
Calories burned: 102
Dingy floors? Get down on hands and knees with a scrub brush to burn 102 calories in a half-hour. For an even better workout, try contracting your abs every time you reach out with a cloth or sponge. Breaking out the mop won't torch quite as many calories, but a half-hour of mopping can still burn 90 calories.
Calories burned: 90
A thorough vacuuming can zap about 90 calories in 30 minutes. Pushing a vacuum engages your arm muscles; to get legs in on the game, try doing lunges to work those thighs.
Calories burned: 72
Kids can be exhausting, but for good reason. Burn 72 calories in just a half-hour of typical child care, including dressing, bathing, feeding, and of course, occasionally picking up and putting down little ones. Get outside and run around with them, and it's possible to more than double the burn.
Calories burned: 68
Not only will the windows be sparkling, but your arms and back will get a nice workout by washing the windows. Make the workout more intense by exaggerating every wiping motion while cleaning.
Calories burned: 126
Surprisingly, the "lazy" alternative to shoveling can still be a workout: A half-hour of snow-blowing can zap 126 calories. But experts with the University of Buffalo warn the combination of cold weather and maneuvering through the snow can still put stress on the heart, particularly if snow is deep. Use the same cautions that recommended for snow shoveling and take frequent breaks.
Calories burned: 221
Put away the snow blower and grab the shovel: a half-hour of shoveling can zap 221 calories. But do be careful when you do. The Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio found that an average of 11,500 snow-shoveling-related injuries and medical emergencies happen in the United States every year. Just be sure to warm up, pace yourself, and push heavier snow instead of lifting it whenever possible.