Household chores aren’t always fun — OK, they may never be fun — but they do offer benefits beyond getting them out of the way. Turns out these mundane tasks can improve your health!

Kick those jobs up a notch by doing them more quickly, or adding extra moves like lunges and squats, and you can turn them into legitimate workouts.

Wondering how to do easy workouts at home? Here are five common man-chores that can do double-duty as fitness routines:

Mowing the lawn

Pushing a gas-powered mower burns 300-plus calories every hour. A manual mower, meanwhile, adds nearly 200 calories to that figure, and while you’re at it, throw in some lunges for good measure (and an extra 200 calories per hour). What’s the proper way to do a lunge? Here’s how it’s done.

Washing the car

Pampering your beloved vehicle may not match mowing when it comes to calorie burn — it clocks in at around 290 per hour — but there’s plenty of potential to work lunges and squats into the mix. What’s a squat? Here’s how it’s done. Turn up the Whitesnake, throw on a muscle shirt, invite your significant other to watch, and you never know: Another kind of workout could be just around the corner…

Cleaning the eavestroughs

Climbing ladders, scooping out leaf goo and raking it up actually burns around 320 calories an hour. Moving the ladder more frequently than usual and climbing it more often will boost that number significantly. It may look like a scene from Mary Poppins, but who cares what the neighbours think when you have quads and shoulders like The Rock?


Sand, soil, snow, whatever — swinging a shovel burns more than 400 calories an hour, and if you lift the load to chest height and hold it for 10 seconds it works all your major muscle groups: legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. It may take longer to get the job done, but your significant other will thank you all the more!


Mr. Miyagi, the Karate Kid’s mentor, had it right: Whitewashing burns nearly 300 calories an hour. But does a painting project ever take just one hour? Do the math: A day of priming adds up to a serious workout. There may be ladders involved too, and every time you rise up on your tip-toes to touch up some trim — hold it for a few extra seconds — the burn in your calves is doing them a lot of good. Fire off some squats every time you bend to dip your brush, and the gains keep coming.

Disclaimer: Please consult your physician or other qualified health professional for any changes to your physical activity. Only qualified health providers can provide health care by examining your health history, your physical, mental and emotional condition, and use their expertise and experience to advise you.

This article was originally published on July 7, 2015.