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10 Easy Ways to Burn Calories While You're Doing Chores

Get your house clean and your body lean with these simple tips.

Going for a run or hitting the gym a few times a week can be a great way to stay in shape and manage your weight. However, even without leaving the house, you'll also burn calories throughout the day any time you get your body moving. Experts say that by ramping up your everyday physical activity—especially while doing household chores—you can give your metabolism a boost, burn more calories, and stay fit. Read on to learn the 10 easiest ways to burn calories while you're doing chores, so you can begin treating both your home and your body like a temple.

RELATED: The 50 Best 5-Minute Exercises Anyone Can Do.

Squat while you scrub.

Handsome young man with apron and protective gloves wiping kitchen cabinets. House cleaning service

Squats are a great exercise for building lower body and core strength—they're also easy to incorporate into your cleaning routine. Try doing squats any time you bend down to sort the laundry basket, scrub the floors, or dust.

"The up and down motion engages your leg and glute muscles, increasing calorie burn," says James de Lacey, an experienced strength and conditioning coach and former personal trainer.

RELATED: 6 Best Walking Workouts for Weight Loss.

Lunge for your laundry.

man washing his blue laundry

Similar to squats, lunges can help strengthen your legs and glutes and are easy additions to your chore routine.

"Instead of bending over to pick up laundry, do lunges. This works your quadriceps and hamstrings, helping you torch extra calories," says de Lacey.

Speed up the vacuuming.

woman vacuuming a carpet

Another way to burn calories while cleaning the house is to spend some time vacuuming. In fact, according to WebMD, vacuuming for a half an hour should burn between 100 and 160 calories, depending on your weight.

"Push the vacuum cleaner with more force and pace. This boosts your heart rate, turning a mundane task into a cardio workout," suggests de Lacey.

Matt Callcott-Stevens, a golf expert, writer, and fitness instructor at Golf Workout Program, agrees that minor changes in how you vacuum can lead to more calories burned. "Rather than mindlessly pushing that vacuum, maintain a proud posture, activate your core, and stride with intention. As you do this, incorporate some lunges. You'll be surprised at the challenge it presents, working those thighs and glutes while also honing your balance," he says.

Dance while dusting.

Happy woman cleaning home, singing at mop like at microphone and having fun, copy space. Housework, chores concept

You can also get your blood pumping and burn more calories by blasting some music and dancing while you work, the experts say.

"Dancing is a fun way to get your heart rate up and engage multiple muscle groups. It also boosts your mood and motivation. As you move to the music, you're likely to clean more energetically and for a longer period," explains Daniel "Bokey" Castillo, a licensed personal trainer and founder of the fitness and nutrition site

"Put on your favorite tunes and dance while dusting or tidying up. It's fun and burns calories as you move to the rhythm," agrees de Lacey.

Get into gardening.

Senior African American couple spending time in their garden on a sunny day, planting flowers.
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd Edition, gardening and yard work can provide moderate to vigorous physical activity for younger adults. Older adults who may garden at a more leisurely pace or lower intensity also stand to gain from this particular chore.

"Gardening involves a variety of activities, such as digging, weeding, and lifting, which engage different muscle groups. It promotes flexibility, balance, and strength development. Plus, the fresh air and connection to nature can reduce stress," says Castillo.

Take the stairs.

young black woman moving cardboard box upstairs
LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Oftentimes, organizing your home requires plenty of walking from room to room. The experts recommend stretching this process out and adding a few extra trips, especially up and down the stairs. "This increases your heart rate and helps tone your legs," explains de Lacey.

To make it even more challenging, Callcott-Stevens suggests going up two steps at a time. "This small change demands more from your muscles, especially the quads, hamstrings, and calves, turning your staircase into a mini gym," he tells Best Life.

Take exercise breaks between chores.

Woman working out and doing lunges with her dog in the living room

Next, Castillo suggests doing a bodyweight exercise every time you complete one task and are preparing to move on to the next.

"Incorporating push-ups, squats, lunges, or planks during chore breaks can help build strength and improve endurance. Short bursts of exercise elevate your heart rate and keep your metabolism active," he says.

Set a timer.

timer held in hand for seconds minutes hours

Picking up the pace while doing chores can help you transform your cleaning into a fat-burning, heart health-boosting exercise.

"Try to set a timer for a fixed period and race against the clock to complete a chore. This approach adds an element of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your cleaning routine, increasing your heart rate and burning calories," says Castillo.

Add some weight.

Female leg with weight, closeup

Doing chores often requires that you carry heavy things such as full buckets, boxes, and more. "When carrying laundry baskets, grocery bags, or other heavy items, use proper lifting techniques to work your core, legs, and upper body. This not only helps build strength but also enhances functional fitness," says Castillo.

If you find that this is lacking in your chores, consider adding wrist or ankle weights while you work.

Stay on your toes while doing the dishes.

Close up focus on young female feet walking barefoot on clean wooden floor at home. Cropped image millennial woman girl standing on warm floor without slippers indoors, underfloor heating concept.

Finally, the experts say that doing your dishes presents another opportunity to burn calories and build muscle.

"Every time I'm on dish duty, I make it a calf party," says Callcott-Stevens. "By simply rising onto my tiptoes and then coming back down, it becomes a low-key workout for those calf muscles," he says.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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