I like exercising marginally more than I like cleaning things, but that’s still not a lot. But I’m told housework could count as my exercise, because it actually burns a fair number of calories. I find myself both skeptical and optimistic.
According to Apartment Therapy, “Studies have shown that housework can be just as physically beneficial, calorie burning, and muscle toning as an hour at the gym.”
That seems like it would depend a lot on what exactly one was doing at the gym. An hour of trying to figure out how the buttons on the elliptical machine work does not burn as many calories as an hour of running or jumping rope. But that doesn’t mean housework has a nonzero effect on one’s physical health.
According to Apartment Therapy, vacuuming and sweeping burn 240 calories/hour. It probably wouldn’t take most people an hour to vacuum or sweep their entire apartment, though.
Laundry burns 260 calories/hour, especially if you put the laundry on the floor so you have to bend over frequently. Again, one probably doesn’t have enough laundry to lift and carry laundry for a solid hour, but it seems like the model here is to stack all one’s chores together. If sweeping and vacuuming take 15 minutes, and the physical part of laundry takes 15 minutes, then you do the dishes (200 calories/hr) for half an hour, that’s 230 calories I wouldn’t have burned sitting around watching videos of dogs and babies, and now my house is clean.
That’s actually a lie, my house is not clean. But I promise to think about doing some of those things once I’m done writing about what life would be like if I actually did them.
It’s not just cleaning that burns calories. Childcare burns an estimated 205 calories per hour. Bench-pressing your toddler is particularly recommended as a good way to tone one’s chest and arms. I have no children to test that on, but I tried it with my cat. She was not amused.
Additionally, cooking is reported to burn 150 calories per hour. That’s a bit more than is burned by just holding still, but I still suspect any benefits earned by the exertion of cooking are more than canceled out by the amount of raw cookie dough I eat while I’m doing it. (Tasting is an integral part of cooking. Who knows if that cookie dough tastes the same as it did five minutes ago? I have to be sure.)
I think the lesson to take from this is that if I want to get a really intense workout by cleaning my house, I should let my house get really dirty first, preferably by making cookies and watching dogs and babies on YouTube.
Via Apartment Therapy/Photo: Shutterstock