5 Everyday Activities That Burn the Most Calories

Ever spent the day doing chores and running errands only to come home exhausted? You may not have run 10 miles, but your body may feel like it did. This is because small bursts of exercise build up over time and burn major calories. Every time you do the dishes, mow the lawn, or lug around grocery bags, you’re burning calories. Considering that 53% of Americans say they want to lose weight, this is great news. By being more mindful of your daily routine you can increase your calorie burn. But how many calories do you burn doing everyday activities? And how does this factor into your weight-loss goals?

The following activities and their calorie burn are based off of different body types. For example, if you’re a 210-pound male, you’ll actually burn more calories doing the same thing as a 170-pound male. In weight loss, the ultimate goal is to eat fewer calories than you burn. Here are five common activities that burn some serious calories.

1. Grocery shopping

Woman paying for groceries

Grocery shopping burns calories, believe it or not. | Thinkstock

Unless you have your groceries delivered, grocery shopping is one chore everyone has to do. One hour spent in the grocery store will burn about 260 calories, based on calculations for a 155-pound person. If you weigh more, you’ll actually burn more and if you weigh less, you may have to work a bit harder to reach that same calorie burn. To get the full effect, load up your cart with the heaviest items first (think watermelons, gallons of milk, and beer) so that you’re forced to push a heavy cart around the store. Have to pick up dog chow? Go into a deep squat when picking the bag off the lower rack.

2. Painting

Painting a house

Painting a house is hard physical work. | iStock.com

Painting the interior or exterior of your home may be something you dread. In fact, it may be something you’re willing to pay someone else to take care of. If you’re looking to cut a few inches off your waistline, there may be nothing better than a weekend spent deep in paint. A 150-pound person burns around 1,026 calories from three hours of painting, which means if you’re painting your entire apartment or are working on the exterior of the house you can burn some serious calories while saving money and fixing up your home.

3. Burn calories by cleaning

Cleaning the sink

Cleaning comes with many benefits. | iStock.com

How many times have you argued with your roommate or significant other on whose turn it is to clean the house? Skip those petty arguments and rack up some serious brownie points by taking care of the cleaning yourself. For every 30 minutes you spend sweeping the floors, you can burn 118 calories. Mopping burns around 129 calories in the same amount of time.

4. Help out others

Young couple moving boxes

Helping your neighbors can slim your waistline. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Ever wanted a reason to talk to your cute neighbor or do something nice for the sweet old lady who lives in your building? Next time a neighbor comes home with a car full of groceries, offer to help. Carrying groceries upstairs can burn an impressive 89 calories every 10 minutes or 258 calories in 30 minutes. Not only will you gain a new friend and do your good deed for the day, but you’ll be burning calories without even realizing it.

5. Gardening


Gardening will burn calories, too. | iStock.com

Once you start paying attention to the harmful effects of the pesticides used to grow your fruits and vegetables, you may be tempted to start your own little garden. Having homegrown tomatoes, basil, and spinach sounds great, but if that wasn’t enough, working in the garden is a serious calorie burner. A 155-pound person burns 334 calories in 30 minutes to an hour by performing basic gardening chores like weeding, pruning, and watering.