Calories burning housework

You can win the swimsuit test at home. Even washing-up or ironing can contribute to make you loose weight

It is the case to say: sweet nothing. Did you know that you could burn energy, measurable in kilocalories, even while sprawling on the sofa or watching TV? It is around 60 kilocalories in an hour for a person who weighs about 70 kilos. You burn calories even while sleeping, making phone calls, talking or sending messages. The basic metabolism of an adult consists of 1000-1500 kilocalories a day. A single Italian-style full meal, obviously for those who are not on a diet, provides from 1000 to 1300 calories. If you take into account that one hectogram of bread provides 300 calories, it is easy to reach 2000-2500.

«It is a fact that about 45% of the Italian population is overweight or obese» says professor Arsenio Veicsteinas, Director of the Sport Medicine Centre at the Don Gnocchi Institute in Milan. How much energy is wasted every day through physical activity? «It depends on how extensively you exercise your muscles» explains Veicsteinas.

calorie domestiche bisMake a virtue of necessity
Doing nothing can be sometimes tolerated, but moving is definitively the right thing to do, almost a diktat. The good news for those who have no time to attend gym classes because they work or have children to look after or those who simply don’t have money to spend, is that they can get results even while staying at home. Even the highly dispraised housework can help you succeed in the swimsuit test.

You don’t have to miss a tear-jerking movie or a program run by a Star Chef, which makes you water your mouth simply by watching at it, if you do some ironing at the same time: in this way, you may loose an average of 108 calories per hour (according to a chart compiled by the American Society of Sport Medicine), «the sole condition is that the activity has to be done without interruption» explains Veicsteinas. If you also add up some exercise while ironing, like for example bending and stretching your legs without interruption, you may double or triple the energy expenditure.

If you do not get tempted

by the delicatessen

available in the fridge

The housework cure-all
Which are the house-works that make you burn more calories? Let’s make some examples considering a person who weighs around 60 kilos: cleaning the windows can make you burn 192 calories, hoovering 198, carrying heavy shopping bags up the stairs 450, washing the floor on your knees 390, doing the laundry by hand 240, making the bed 198, clearing the table and washing-up 150 (always considering to do each activity for at least an hour without interruption). So, the longer you work hard, the more effective is the outcome.

«The housework, if rather intense and extended, can be regarded as effective as a sport activity» says Veicsteinas. However, he adds a warning: “It is worth bearing in mind that all the electronic appliances currently in use in our modern homes prevent us from doing the most energy-consuming works». Indeed, who does the laundry by hand like our grannies used to do? However, if we want to achieve good results as regards our physical shape and muscles, nothing prevents us to do so again.

«The house-works that used to engage a housewife for two or three hours every morning no longer exist, thus housework alone is now hardly comparable to physical exercise» concludes Veicsteinas.  The advice is to walk fast for about 30 minutes a day (wearing suitable shoes), unless you wish to embark on a sport activity that will undoubtedly provide you with physical well-being, essential today more than ever.

(translation by Cecilia Braghin)


Simona Cornaggia Nata a Milano, dove ha sempre vissuto, dopo la maturità classica si laurea a pieni voti in filosofia. Giornalista professionista, è specializzata nel settore economico-finanziario. Ha lavorato al Mondo (Rcs Mediagroup) e poi fino al 2012 è stata caporedattrice del settimanale Borsa&Finanza. Ora è attiva come freelance