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Lose Weight with Chores: Skip the Treadmill, Run the Vacuum Instead

Tired of the gym? Fire up your lawn mower instead. Movoto figured out how many household chores you'll need to do to get in shape.

Kristin Crosier

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44 articles, 3 comments



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If there’s one thing universally disliked by men and women alike, it’s household chores. When pigs fly is about the time the Movoto Real Estate bloggers will go home after a long day of work and say, “Boy, I just can’t wait to take out the trash, do my laundry, and clean those dirty dishes!”

But the redeeming thing about chores is that it turns out they’re nearly as good as going to the gym. Better actually, because it costs you absolutely nothing and requires no extra time, since the chores need to be completed anyway.

Ditch a Few Pounds for When the Holidays Come Around

We’re all familiar with the temptation of rich holiday foods that is just around the corner (mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, here we come). In keeping with our proactive tendencies, the Movoto blog team decided to figure out what household chores we’d need to do and for how long in order to work off those tasty dishes–or for any other time you want to shed a few pounds.

To find out, simply select how much weight you’d like to lose and the time period you want to lose it in, and our handy-dandy calculator will tell you what chores you should do to get those results.

Logistics of Weight Loss By Chores

So how exactly did we figure out the numbers behind our calculator? First we had a few obstacles to maneuver around:

  • Figuring out how many calories are burned for different chores
  • Finding out how to convert calories to pounds

To start, we based our calculations on the average weight for a male, or about 200 lbs, and the average weight for a female, 150 lbs. We were also interested to know how many calories equal a pound, and we found that 3,500 calories = one pound of weight.

Here are the tasks we selected and how many calories they burn in an hour:

Source: Flickr user tourist_on_earth

  • Chopping wood: 415 calories for women, 552 for men
  • Cleaning the gutters: 340 calories for women, 450 for men
  • Cooking: 180 calories for women, 240 for men
  • Doing dishes: 153 calories for women, 204 for men
  • Mowing: 297 calories for women, 396 for men
  • Putting away groceries: 180 calories for women, 240 for men
  • Raking leaves: 270 calories for women, 360 for men
  • Shoveling snow: 415 calories for women, 552 for men
  • Sweeping: 270 calories for the average woman, 450 calories for the average man
  • Trimming trees and shrubbery: 305 calories for women, 400 for men
  • Vacuuming: 235 calories for women, 315 for men
  • Washing the car: 200 calories for women, 270 for men
  • Washing windows: 200 calories for women, 270 for men

Using existing data for how many calories certain chores burn and a helpful calories-to-pounds converter, we did the math to convert calories into pounds.

Then it was just a matter of adding up the pounds burned from our selected chores to find out what housework and for how long you should do the tasks to shed a desired amount of pounds.

If you’re interested in finding out how household activities and recreational activities stack up for your specific weight, HealthStatus has a great tool for doing so.

Women (Still) Do More Household Chores

Speaking of chores, we couldn’t help but browse the latest household task stats published by the American Time Use Survey that’s conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS’s most recent findings reveal that women continue to do more household chores, with men completing an average of 1.4 hours’ worth of chores per day, and women completing 2.2 hours’ worth.

On a typical day:

  • 20 percent of men complete housework tasks, compared to 49 percent of women
  • 41 percent of men do food preparation and cleanup, while 68 percent of women cook and wash dishes
  • 12 percent of men take care of lawn and garden care, compared to 8 percent of women
  • 14 percent of men help with household management, while 21 percent of women manage household chores

Our takeaway: Men, you might want to reconsider helping with those household chores to hold off that beer belly a little longer.


The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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Looking for a new home? Movoto’s got you covered. With millions of listings, plenty of property information, and established agents all over the country, we make finding your future home simple. And when you’re ready to take a break from browsing homes, you can always come back here to learn more about your favorite cities.

posted on: October 23, 2012
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