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How Many Calories are Burned by Housework?


Last modified 4th January 2016

Welcome to the housework section of DietandFitnessToday and the associated calories burned and weight lost. Here we present a list of 75 activities based on the general description of housework and the calories burnt for a typical man and woman.

These housework activities range from the highest calorie burn from 'moving household items upstairs, carrying boxes or furniture' which burns 388 calories in 30 minutes through to the activity 'knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting' which has the lowest calorie burn of 56 calories in 30 minutes, for a typical adult weighing 190 pounds (86 Kg).

To help you find the information you need, we first focus on the most common housework activities. This is followed by the activities with the highest, lowest and average burnt calories per minute and per hour

We also cover the predicted weight loss from housework, typical food calorie equivalents and our new proprietary calories burned score© and calories burned rank©

For walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods, which is a typical intensity activity under the general description of housework activities, the average calories burned by a person weighing 190 pounds (86 Kg) in 30 minutes is 129 Calories. In one hour the same activity will burn 259 Calories.

Effect of Intensity on the Calorie Calculator

Although the above is a typical example for housework, the calculator we use to determine the calories burnt depends on the intensity, duration and your body weight. At the bottom of the article we have a variety of different intensities which can be personalized based on your weight and the duration of the activities, using our free calculator.

Calorie Score and Calorie Rank for Housework

At dietandfitnesstoday we have a new proprietary concept of a Calories Burned Score© and Calories Burned Rank©.

The calorie score gives an indication of the relative burn rate measured as a percentage score out of 100 for the different housework activities, where 100% is the maximum calorie burn which we estimate from running at a pace of 4 minutes per mile which is a world class speed for running for 30 mins.

The calorie rank is the rank of the activity compared with all other 800 activities in our database to give an indication of the percentage of activities which have a higher or lower calorie burn. A rank of 1 means it is the highest ranking activity in terms or calorie burn and a rank of 100 means it is the activity with the lowest carlorie burn compared with all other activities.

Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for a Typical housework Activity

As we have previously mentioned Walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods is a moderate and typical level of intensity for housework and can be used as a general representative approximate measure for calories burnt by housework. For this activity in 30 minutes an average man weighing 190 pounds (86 kg) burns 129 Calories, while an average woman weighing 163 pounds (74 kg), in 30 minutes burns 111 Calories.

Calories Per Minute

The calories burned per minute for Walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods is 4 Calories per minute, for a typical man and for a typical female is 4 Calories per minute.

Calories Per Hour

The calories lost in one hour is 259 calories for a typical man, and 222 calories in one hour for a typical woman.

How to Burn 100 Calories

To burn 100 calories for a typical male would require 25 minutes of the activity walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods and to burn 100 calories with the same housework activity for a typical female would take 25 minutes.

Score and Rank

Walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods has a Calorie Burned Score© of 10.2 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 10.2 % of the highest realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calorie Burned Rank© of 85 out of 100 ie it is in the top 85 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 568 activities that have a higher calorie burn than walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods

Equivalent Activities

The following activities burn the same number of calories as Walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods -

  • airline flight attendant
  • airplane repair
  • ballroom, slow (e.g., waltz, foxtrot, slow dancing, samba, tango, 19th century dance, mambo, cha cha)
  • bowling (Taylor Code 390)
  • butchering animals, small

Comparison with Inactivity

30 mins of inactivity for example just sitting and watching television burns 43 calories for a typical man and 37 calories for a typical woman. Which means Walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods burns 3.2 times more calories than the equivalent time of inactivity for an average man and 3.0 times more calories for an average female.

Food Calorie Equivalents

This level of 129 calories burnt by an average man walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods is equivalent to 0.2 Big Macs, 0.5 snickers bar, 1.1 Starbucks Grande Skinny Lattes, 0.4 cheeseburgers, 0.5 slices of pizza or 0.3 large blueberry muffins.

For an average female burning 111 calories is equivalent to 0.2 Big Macs, 0.4 snickers bar, 0.9 Starbucks Grande Skinny Lattes, 0.4 cheeseburgers, 0.4 slices of pizza or 0.3 large blueberry muffins.

Weight Loss from Housework

To answer the question how many pounds will I lose from the activity housework? Taking this example of walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods in 30 minutes, the weight loss for a typical man is a minimum of 0.02 pounds, and a typical woman would lose 0.02 pounds.

Based on 4 sessions per week of walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods for a duration of 30 minutes per session, the approximate time taken to lose one pound is 13 weeks for a man and 13 weeks for a woman, assuming no other changes in lifestyle or eating habits.

The same 4 sessions per week of walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods for a duration of 30 minutes per session, would lose 1kg in 6 weeks for a man and 7 weeks for a woman.

Housework Activity with the Highest Calorie Burn

The highest number of calories burned for an average person is achieved by moving household items upstairs, carrying boxes or furniture. For this activity in 30 minutes an average man burns 388 Calories, while an average woman in 30 minutes burns 333 Calories.

This activity of moving household items upstairs, carrying boxes or furniture has a Calories Burned Score© of 37.1 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 37.1 % of the maximum realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calories Burned Rank© of 43 out of 100 ie it is in the top 43 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 85 activities that have a higher calorie burn than moving household items upstairs, carrying boxes or furniture

Housework Activity with the Lowest Calorie Burn

The housework activity with the lowest calories burnt is knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting, which for an average man in 30 minutes burns 56 Calories, and for an average woman burns 48 Calories.

This activity of knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting has a Calories Burned Score© of 2.6 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 2.6 % of the maximum realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calories Burned Rank© of 97 out of 100 ie it is in the top 97 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 801 activities that have a higher calorie burn than knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting

Average Calories Burned by Housework

Based on the the list of 75 housework activities, shown below, the average calories burned for an average male, weighing 190 pounds (86 kg) is 140 Calories for 30 minutes of housework. The average burnt for an average female, weighing 163 pounds (74 kg) is 120 Calories for 30 minutes of housework.

Housework for 30 minutes - Calories Burned Calculator

Calories Burned in 30 minutes of housework for Average Male (M) and Female (F) (click to personalise).
moving household items upstairs, carrying boxes or furniture - calories  Male=388 kcal, Female=333 kcal.
carrying groceries upstairs - calories  Male=323 kcal, Female=277 kcal.
scrubbing floors, on hands and knees, scrubbing bathroom, bathtub, vigorous effort - calories  Male=280 kcal, Female=240 kcal.
butchering animal, large, vigorous effort - calories  Male=259 kcal, Female=222 kcal.
moving furniture, household items, carrying boxes - calories  Male=250 kcal, Female=214 kcal.
walking/running, playing with child(ren), vigorous effort, only active periods - calories  Male=250 kcal, Female=214 kcal.
maple syruping/sugar bushing (including carrying buckets, carrying wood) - calories  Male=215 kcal, Female=185 kcal.
moving, lifting light loads - calories  Male=215 kcal, Female=185 kcal.
walk/run, playing with animals, vigorous effort, only active periods - calories  Male=215 kcal, Female=185 kcal.
organizing room - calories  Male=207 kcal, Female=177 kcal.
polishing floors, standing, walking slowly, using electric polishing machine - calories  Male=194 kcal, Female=166 kcal.
multiple household tasks all at once, vigorous effort - calories  Male=185 kcal, Female=159 kcal.
elder care, disabled adult, bathing, dressing, moving into and out of bed, only active periods - calories  Male=172 kcal, Female=148 kcal.
laundry, hanging wash, washing clothes by hand, moderate effort - calories  Male=172 kcal, Female=148 kcal.
sweeping garage, sidewalk or outside of house - calories  Male=172 kcal, Female=148 kcal.
tanning hides, general - calories  Male=172 kcal, Female=148 kcal.
walk/run, playing with animals, moderate effort, only active periods - calories  Male=172 kcal, Female=148 kcal.
cleaning, sweeping, slow, moderate effort - calories  Male=164 kcal, Female=140 kcal.
cleaning, heavy or major (e.g. wash car, wash windows, clean garage), moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
cleaning, mopping, standing, moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
cooking or food preparation, moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
multiple household tasks all at once, moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
scrubbing floors, on hands and knees, scrubbing bathroom, bathtub, moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
standing, bathing dog - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
standing, packing/unpacking boxes, occasional lifting of lightweight household items, loading or unloading items in car, moderate effort - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
walking, moderate effort tasks, non-cleaning (readying to leave, shut/lock doors, close windows, etc.) - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
walking/running, playing with child(ren), moderate effort, only active periods - calories  Male=151 kcal, Female=129 kcal.
cleaning, house or cabin, general, moderate effort - calories  Male=142 kcal, Female=122 kcal.
cleaning, sweeping carpet or floors, general - calories  Male=142 kcal, Female=122 kcal.
kitchen activity, general, (e.g., cooking, washing dishes, cleaning up), moderate effort - calories  Male=142 kcal, Female=122 kcal.
making bed, changing linens - calories  Male=142 kcal, Female=122 kcal.
vacuuming, general, moderate effort - calories  Male=142 kcal, Female=122 kcal.
cleaning windows, washing windows, general - calories  Male=138 kcal, Female=118 kcal.
butchering animals, small - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
child care, standing (e.g., dressing, bathing, grooming, feeding, occasional lifting of child), moderate effort - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
cooking Indian bread on an outside stove - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
implied walking, putting away household items, moderate effort - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
walk/run, playing with animals, general, light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
walking and carrying small child, child weighing 15 lbs or more - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
multiple household tasks all at once, light effort - calories  Male=121 kcal, Female=104 kcal.
sewing with a machine - calories  Male=121 kcal, Female=104 kcal.
stand, playing with animals, light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=121 kcal, Female=104 kcal.
standing, playing with child(ren) light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=121 kcal, Female=104 kcal.
building a fire inside - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
child care, infant, general - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
cleaning, general (straightening up, changing linen, carrying out trash, light effort - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
cooking or food preparation, walking - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
feeding household animals - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
mopping, standing, light effort - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
putting away groceries (e.g. carrying groceries, shopping without a grocery cart), carrying packages - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
serving food, setting table, implied walking or standing - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
sit, playing with animals, light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
wash dishes, clearing dishes from table, walking, light effort - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
watering plants - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
animal care, household animals, general - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
cleaning, sweeping, slow, light effort - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
cutting and smoking fish, drying fish or meat - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
dusting or polishing furniture, general - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
elder care, disabled adult, feeding, combing hair, light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
food shopping with or without a grocery cart, standing or walking - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
laundry, putting away clothes, gathering clothes to pack, putting away laundry, implied walking - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
non-food shopping, with or without a cart, standing or walking - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
walking and carrying small child, child weighing less than 15 lbs - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
sitting, playing with child(ren), light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=95 kcal, Female=81 kcal.
breastfeeding, sitting or reclining - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
child care, sitting/kneeling (e.g., dressing, bathing, grooming, feeding, occasional lifting of child), light effort, general - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
cooking or food preparation - standing or sitting or in general (not broken into stand/walk components), manual appliances, light effort - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
laundry, fold or hang clothes, put clothes in washer or dryer, packing suitcase, washing clothes by hand, implied standing, light effort - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
scrubbing floors, on hands and knees, scrubbing bathroom, bathtub, light effort - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
standing, holding child - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
standing, light effort tasks (pump gas, change light bulb, etc.) - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
ironing - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
wash dishes, standing or in general (not broken into stand/walk components) - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
reclining with baby - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.

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You can browse other common activities from our database, from the links below or visit the compendium at https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home.

Calories Burned Activities


  aerobics
  at work
  badminton
  baseball
  ballet
  ballroom dancing
  basketball
  boxing
  biking
  canoeing
  climbing
  cleaning
  cricket
  cross country skiing
  crossfit
  cycling
  dancing
  exercise
  elliptical
  fishing
  football
  fencing
  gardening
  golf
  gymnastics
  hiking
  horse riding
  housework
  ice skating
  jogging
  judo
  karate
  kayaking
  kick boxing
  pilates
  rodeo sports
  rollerblading
  ropejumping
  rowing
  rugby
  running
  resting
  sailing
  shopping
  sitting
  skating
  skiing
  sleeping
  soccer
  softball
  spinning
  sports
  standing
  step aerobics
  swimming
  tae kwan do
  tennis
  treadmill
  volleyball
  walking
  water polo
  weight lifting
  yoga
  zumba

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Disclaimer: The information provided by Diet & Fitness Today is for general information and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. You should always consult a licensed physician or medical professional for diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting any weight loss or fitness regime.