Is Cleaning Exercise? How Many Calories Can You Burn Cleaning Your House? (Experiment)
We ran an experiment to find out which are the most effective rooms to clean in your home when it comes to raising heart rate and burning calories.
Cleaning your home is vitally important to ensure your space isn’t infested with germs, whilst studies have proven that the act of tidying up reduces anxiety, improves mood, and releases endorphins.
But just how hard should you be cleaning to ensure your home is rid of all germs and bacteria?
Homeaglow provided 10 pro-cleaners with Fitbits and asked them to clean 5 houses each to reveal the most effective rooms to clean to burn the most calories and raise your heart rate.
You can burn a minimum of 830 calories per full home cleaning session on average
Our experiment revealed that when professionally cleaning a house consisting of 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room, cleaners burn a whopping average of 830 calories. To put this into perspective this is equivalent to doing a HIIT workout for over 1 hour and 30 mins for the average person.
When it comes to cleaning an ‘average house’ consisting of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room, you could burn a whopping average of 1,311 calories. To achieve that, you’ll have to spend an average of 4 hours (238 minutes to be precise) scrubbing, vacuuming, and mopping!
You can burn 276 calories cleaning your kitchen, and reach a heart rate of 140 bpm on average
If you want to burn the most calories cleaning your house, the kitchen is your best bet. Our results show that the cleaners in our experiment averaged burning 276 calories per kitchen — which is equivalent to jogging for just under 40 mins straight.
The room that drove heart rates the highest was also the kitchen, with the cleaners averaging 140 bpm. This makes sense according to Fitness Expert, Joe Mitton who comments: “Spikes in heart rate tend to occur with bursts of cardio exercise. This is most likely to happen during kitchen cleaning because of the tasks involved, like scrubbing, mopping, and vacuuming.”
Cleaning your living room burns the most calories per minute
In terms of the room in your house that will allow you to burn the most calories per minute, the living room can’t be beaten. The professional cleaners who participated in our experiment burned 6.3 calories per minute in the living room over 30+ mins — which is an equivalent average heart rate to doing intense weight training.
How to make cleaning your home into more of a workout
Our experiment shows there are lots of physical benefits to tidying up when cleaning like a pro, so we asked fitness experts for their tips on taking your daily, weekly or monthly cleaning regime to more of an intense workout.
Incorporate squatting and lunging movements whilst cleaning hard-to-reach areas in your home
Dr. Dave Candy, Physiotherapist, recommends, “incorporating more squatting or lunging type movements into your cleaning, trying to stay moving the whole time, and making additional trips up and down the stairs. Additionally, cleaning more often rather than waiting until the house gets messy can help increase the frequency of your "workouts" while also keeping your home looking tidier.”
Think about targeting your bigger muscle groups when scrubbing down your rooms
For fitness expert, Joe Mitton, it’s a question of simply doing more with the right muscles. “Don't be afraid to really scrub down those surfaces and tiles or run the vacuum around the house. When it comes to burning more calories we need to think about the bigger muscle groups and more difficult household cleaning tasks. Rather than bending over to clean something, squat down and hold the squat.”
Shift your workout mindset — any form of movement is exercise
According to Wellness Coach Esther Avant, mindset is the most important factor for getting health benefits from cleaning. “A 2009 research study by Dr. Ellen Langer found that one of the most impactful ways to make cleaning an effective form of exercise is to start viewing it as such. Rather than thinking exercise has to be in a gym, shifting one's mindset to think of any form of movement as exercise can make a big difference. Making the shift to viewing yourself as a regular exerciser because you engage in active "chores" can improve your health, largely because identifying as a healthy person has a ripple effect into other decisions and areas of one's life.”
So, can you ditch your regular workout routine in favor of cleaning?
Based on our experiment and the tips from fitness experts, cleaning is clearly proven to be a legitimate way to get and stay fit. Whether you choose cleaning or a workout will depend on your fitness goals, how many calories you want to burn, and how much you enjoy cleaning.
If you’d prefer to stick with the gym and avoid cleaning your home, book yourself a 5-star, affordable cleaner on Homeaglow.
To conduct the workout cleaning experiment, we provided 10 cleaners from Homeaglow Fitbits and asked them to measure their average heart rate and calories burned cleaning 5 houses each.
We calculated calorie exercise equivalents by taking the average weight of an adult against a physical activity calorie counter.