How can I burn more calories doing household chores?

Dirty Dish Dips

Don't let a mountain of dishes prevent you from working out when you could take care of both at the same time. Start the dishes, and then every few minutes, stop to do some dirty dish dips:

  • Areas worked: chest, arms.
  • Starting position: Face the sink, hands on the edge of the countertop, arms straight; position feet slightly farther than arms-length away from the counter so that your body is at a slight angle.
  • Action: Without bending at your waist, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the counter. Dip your chest toward the counter as far as comfortably possible before returning to your starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Tip: Make sure the counter and your hands are dry and you're wearing shoes that won't slip.

Backyard Twists

Raking the yard is already a great workout. Do it for half an hour and you'll burn about 171 calories, which is close to what you'd expend by running a mile. Boost the calorie burn with this twist:

  • Areas worked: arms, shoulders, stomach, back, and sides.
  • Starting position: Rake gripped in both hands, right hand lowest on the rake handle; arms extended to make a long rake stroke.
  • Action: Reach the rake out as far as you can, and pull debris back toward your left foot by taking long, steady strokes while twisting your hips and upper body to the left. Do half of your raking with this motion, and then move your left hand below your right on the rake handle and do the rest with a left-to-right twisting motion.
  • Tip: Start by raking for only a few minutes with this motion and work your way up as you get stronger. This motion works well when sweeping floors, too. Consult your healthcare provider first if you have back problems.

Squeaky Clean Squats

Whether you're mopping the floor, washing the car, or scrubbing windows, you can get a lower body workout with a couple of buckets half-filled with water:

  • Areas worked: arms, thighs, buttocks.
  • Starting position: Stand with one bucket handle gripped in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart; back, arms, and legs straight.
  • Action: Keep your arms straight down at your sides while you slowly squat by bending at the knee and hip joints. Lower yourself until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Tips: To avoid injury, keep your knees centered over your toes when squatting, do not allow your thighs to dip beyond parallel to the ground, and keep your back straight.

    To burn more calories doing household chores, you could do something as simple as taking technology out of the equation. If you have a dishwasher, don’t use it. Hand wash and dry all of the dishes instead. Use a broom instead of a vacuum. If it’s time to take out the trash, take two bags instead of one at a time. Basically, make simple tasks a little more demanding. You could also combine exercises with chores. For instance, if you’re washing the dishes, do so while standing on one leg, switching every minute.

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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.