Lots of folks love the camaraderie of working out in a gym, where they’re surrounded by their fellow stay-fit warriors. But if you’re not that social by nature, you don’t care for formal workout routines — or you simply don’t have the time or money to squander on a health club membership — don’t fret: Just by performing routine chores around the old homestead, you can easily burn enough calories to keep weight gain at bay and your muscles toned to boot. Here’s a handful of examples:
Digging in your yard burns about 630 calories per hour, in addition to toning the muscles in your calves, thighs, arms, and shoulders. Plus, if you go at it vigorously for 20 minutes or more, you can increase your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system at the same time.
Raking leaves for an hour can burn 450 calories, and the resistance offered by the leaves helps tone all the major muscle groups in your body.
Scrubbing the bathroom burns 400 calories an hour and tones your arm and shoulder muscles.
Sweeping and mopping a floor burns about 240 calories an hour and gives you a great upper- and lower-body workout.
Washing the car burns 286 calories an hour and helps tone your arms and abdominal muscles.
The exact number of calories a person burns during any activity varies greatly, depending on gender, age, weight, and individual metabolism. An Internet search for “calorie burn calculator” will bring up scads of sites where you can type in your vital stats and learn how many calories you’ll expend on common chores, ranging from loading your dishwasher to washing your dog, as well as more athletic endeavors such as swimming, dancing, and hitting the rowing machine at the health club.