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7 Easy Ways to Lose Weight at Home

When it comes to gaining weight, extra calories are extra calories, whether you drink them in a soda or inhale them via cheeseburgers. Luckily, when it comes to burning calories, the same principle applies.

It doesn't matter what kind of physical activity you do, as long as you expend energy. And, in fact, some common household activities can give you as much of a workout as you'd get in the gym. This is either great or terrible news depending on how much you were looking forward to spring cleaning, but the science behind it might have you reaching for a broom before you finish reading.

Cooking a Meal

cooking vegetables

150-pound person: 100 calories in 60 minutes

180-pound person: 120 calories in 60 minutes

Reaching, stretching, stirring and perhaps fretting can work up a sweat–provided you don't taste your way through the entire prep session. Put away the mixer and stir everything by hand. Eschew gadgetry and peel and chop fresh vegetables yourself. And continue burning calories once you sit down at the table by complementing your recipes with these fatty foods that make you skinny and the best spices for fat loss. Then wash your dishes by hand (see below).

Washing Dishes by Hand

dirty dishes

150-pound person: 102 calories in 30 minutes

180-pound person: 122 calories in 30 minutes

This is the only time those of us who are dishwasher-deficient can feel triumphant. After you're done, sweep and mop the floor—spending 15 minutes doing each will burn 39 and 43 calories respectively for a 150-pound person. It's enough to buy you a well-deserved glass of one of these 16 Wines for Weight Loss.

Painting a Room

painting a room

150-pound person: 288 calories in 60 minutes

180-pound person: 344 calories in 60 minutes

Reaching, bending and ladder-climbing can rival a zumba class. Assuming it takes an average of two to three hours to paint the average room, you can get the same benefits as an hour on the treadmill. Before you pick up a brush, wipe down the walls to add another 200 calories in 30 minutes. To polish things up, pick up a drip guard and an extension pole from the hardware store and paint the ceiling; it'll give your shoulders and triceps a solid workout.

Moving Furniture

moving furniture

150-pound person: 340 calories in 60 minutes

180-pound person: 408 calories in 60 minutes

Not only can it give you a decent workout, rearranging your space can make you happier, writes Carrie Barron, M.D., author of The Creativity Cure: "An impact on the environment, whether an imprint or a removal, lifts mood, provides concrete satisfaction and instills a sense of effectiveness." To max it out, enlist your quads whenever possible; leg exercises burn more calories than arm exercises. And the next time a friend asks for help moving house, don't concoct another dying relative: Carrying boxes burns 400 calories an hour for a 150-pound person (if you're closer to 180 pounds, add 20% more calories).

Cleaning Your Car

washing your car

150-pound person: 204 calories in 40 minutes

180-pound person: 244 calories in 40 minutes

Wax on, calories off. Washing a chassis, wiping down upholstery, vacuuming the interior and applying a coat of polish will work every major muscle group. Plus, the calcified fries under the driver's seat will encourage you to skip the drive-thru for months.

Cleaning the Bathroom

cleaning the tub

150-pound person: 190 calories in 60 minutes

180-pound person: 240 calories in 60 minutes

Scouring surfaces might give you bad Annie flashbacks, but it can actually be a good full-body workout, engaging your biceps, triceps and core. Max it out by mopping the floor—for a 150-pound person, it burns 43 calories in 15 minutes.


vacuuming the rug

150-pound person: 200 calories in 60 minutes

180-pound person: 240 calories in 60 minutes

And, no, turning on your Roomba doesn't count. While you're dispatching dust bunnies from every crevice and sofa underbelly, work in a few sets of squats (we won't laugh) for full-body benefits. Get the proper vacuum attachments to clean from floor to ceiling, and make that a habit: Household dust mites can trigger allergies and have you reaching for antihistamines; chronic antihistamine use increases appetite and especially carb cravings, according to researchers at the UCLA Department of Medicine.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a seasoned writer and editor with a passion for helping people make life-improving decisions. Read more about Michael