Thoughts From Denise On The Fitness Journey Over 50

How Many Calories Do We Really Burn?

I love to read the daily posts from the folks in the 5 pound challenge crew.  Just to clarify, the focus of the 5 pound challenge crew is not how fast we lose 5 pounds. The focus is on eating clean and exercising and the weight will take care of itself. If you haven’t joined yet, check in on our Facebook page

To get back to the daily posts, many of us have been posting cleaning and housework as our daily exercise so I wanted to dig a little deeper in to that to see exactly how many calories we really burn doing housework.  The answers may surprise you.

Last week, my husband was out-of-town at a trade show so I was running around like a chicken without a head – processing orders, packing orders, answering the phone along with my normal daily workload of sales and marketing.  The days went something like this – house, office, warehouse, office, warehouse, house, office, warehouse, office and so on.  I got on the scale as I normally do each Friday and almost fell over when the results were 3 pounds less than they were the week before. I have been averaging 1/2 to 1 pound weight loss each week.  The ONLY thing that changed was the increase in my daily activities.  Generally I am either in my home office or the business office until I head to town to run or go to the gym.  Being active more during the day resulted in an additional 2 pound weight loss. Interesting right? So it got me to wondering if folks that were more active during the day either at their jobs or doing housework, etc. were getting the same benefits I get from exercising daily.

Combination of household chores burns 100 calories.

My exercise includes Zumba, walk/run interval, strength and toning and biking.  An hour of Zumba generally burns anywhere from 500 to 750 calories depending on the intensity level.  30 minutes of jogging at 12 mph will burn about 325 calories.  30 minutes of walking at 3.0 mph which is a moderate pace will burn about 140 calories.  So how do these numbers compare with average household chores?  Below are some common household activities along with what you can expect to burn if you did these chores for 30 minutes:

  • Sweeping floors about 80 calories
  • Mopping floors about 85 calories
  • Washing dishes including some walking 50 calories
  • Moving household items, furniture carrying boxes about 275 calories

I’ll be honest, I thought household cleaning would burn more calories.  But even a combination of household chores at a vigorous level will only burn 100 calories in 30 minutes.   Keep in mind that if you are cleaning for several hours you will be able to burn enough calories that might replace your workout for the day but it will take you longer than 60 minutes to do so.  Also keep in mind that if you are in a very labor intensive job, you will burn significantly more calories. The best way to determine how many calories you are burning each day with your normal activities is write the activities down then research them.  You can use My Fitness Pal for your research.

Conclusion?  Our bodies quickly adapt to activities we do daily.  So even if you do have a job that requires you to move more than someone like me that sits most of the day, you still have to increase your activity level daily over what your body is accustomed to doing if you want to lose weight. On the flip side, if someone that sits most of the day adds manual labor in addition to their exercise routine as I did last week, they will actually increase the calories burned.

Anyway you look at it, when you get up and you get moving your health and wellness benefits. Get moving.

If you need a guideline, get the free 7 day meal plan here:

To your health,


Coach Denise

Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area.  She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses.   She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at





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