June 16, 2009

Top 10 Mood-Lifting, Calorie-Burning Chores

Next time you feel a little overwhelmed, grab your broom and give the kitchen floor a quick sweep.

Truth is, you shouldn't dread housework. Bafflingly, studies show it actually has the power to cheer you up. And, oh, by the way, chores count as exercise.

Dusting with a Smile

Chores and other forms of medium- to high-intensity activity may lift our emotions in a big way. And it doesn't take much of a time commitment to do the trick. A recent study found that just 20 minutes once a week of any kind of activity -- not just traditional things like walking, but also doing laundry, gardening, or washing windows -- can keep people from feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed.

It Counts as Exercise, Too

The key to turning any household task into exercise is to pick up the pace or intensity and sustain it for as long as comfortably possible without resting.

For example, if you have three floors to mop:

  • throw on some headphones with upbeat music
  • put some major muscle behind your scrubbing
  • time yourself to see if you can get a sparkling result under a certain time limit

These tips will help you keep the activity intense enough to count as exercise.

Top 10 Household Chores for Burning Calories*



1.   Moving furniture


2.   Scrubbing floors


3.   Raking leaves


4.   Gardening


5.   Mowing the lawn


6.   Washing the car


7.   Cleaning windows


8.   Vacuuming


9.   Washing dishes


10. Doing laundry


* Estimates based on a 150-pound person and 30 minutes of activity


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