Is cleaning your house exercise?

Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali, CPT,NASM Elite Trainer
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Yes cleaning your house can be considered engaging in physical activity, however, intensity is everything.  Following is a list of MET values or intensity values associated with cleaning home and how intense you are working.  A MET value of 1 is essentially five calories.

Reclining with baby - 1.5 METS
Carpentry - sawing hardwood - 7.5 METS
Moving household furniture, carrying boxex - 6.0 METS
Carrying groceries upstairs - 7.5 METS
Serving food, setting table, implied walking or stand ing - 2.5 MET
Mowing lawn - 5 METS

I hope this helpful to you.
Cleaning your house can be amazing exercise.  Not only can it give you a cardio workout, but it can also incorporate resistance training and interval training.  Of course the type of housework and the intensity determines how much of a calorie burn you will get.  The key is to raise your heart rate and to incorporate different movements within the cleaning.  Light dusting will burn very few calories, but moving furniture to vacuum under or organizing a room (lifting boxes, moving things from room to room, etc.) could be a much larger burn.  To increase the intensity or speed at which you work, try putting on some fast tempo music that you really enjoy and dance, while cleaning.  You could also give yourself a time limit in which you have to clean a pretty big task, if you finish before the time is up, give youself the added bonus of a quick walk or run around the neighborhood.  Clean house = Calorie burn, it's a win win!!! 
Robert Wildman, PhD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Any type of movement leads to additional calories burned, so absolutely, housework is considered exercise. Just because you might not have sweat pants on or be wearing the latest sport shoe, it's still exercise. For instance, a 130 lb woman might burn an addition 200 calories engaged in moderate housework such as dusting, vacuuming, laundry, etc. If you venture outside that same woman will burn over 200 calories per hour gardening and in upwards of 275-330 calories shoveling snow. Now you probably won't develop muscle mass or experience a lot of cardiovascular benefit, but your efforts will be contributing to easier weight control and self-satisfaction.

Absolutely cleaning your house is exercise. While you may not be in a gym pumping iron or running on a treadmill, but it is still exercise and requires you do to work and burn more energy than being sedentary. Cleaning the house is an example of moderate intensity activity the kind the NASM and health experts recommend that you perform daily to maximize health and fitness. Daily chores like cleaning your house, mowing the lawn, cleaning the car, shopping for food and other things are all examples of moderate exercise, which helps improve health and fitness.  

Absolutely! We play a little game at my house to see how fast we can get the housework done. You would be amazed at how taxing it is, and what a rewarding workout it can be.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.