Are you trying to find different ways to stay physically active at home during the pandemic? Have you also wondered if doing your domestic duties could substitute for exercising when other options are not available? Read on to find out whether household chores can replace exercise.

Household Chores And Physical Activity

Many household chores such as mopping, cleaning, gardening, walking your dog, etc., help you burn calories and stretch and tone your muscles. 

Experts believe that even short bouts of mild physical activity can help improve your fitness level.

If you do household chores with higher intensity or speed up the time in which you do a chore, it is more beneficial to your health. 

NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis describes the calories burned by the physical movements during activities that are not exercise or sports, eating, and sleeping. 

Most of your daily chores fall under NEAT behaviour and can help increase your caloric expenditure by up to 350 calories per day.

Do Household Chores Count as Exercise?

While they may help you burn some calories and stay active, just doing household chores may not be enough to reach the daily levels of recommended physical activity or provide all of the benefits associated with exercising as well. 

The number of calories you burn depends on the exercise, intensity, and body weight. A healthy adult can burn between 400-500 calories with 45-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in a day. 

Research also suggests that if you consider only housework as exercise, you could overestimate the intensity or duration of the household chore, or how many calories you burn, and end up overeating. 

Thus, experts believe that it is important to include many different kinds of physical activity in your day and make sure that housework is not seen as the main method of exercising.

However, any physical activity is better than no activity at all. During these unprecedented times, when you are mostly confined to their homes, performing household chores can help you stay physically active and support your mental health. 


1. 2021. Household Chores That Burn Calories. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 1 June 2021].

2. Murphy, M., Donnelly, P., Breslin, G., Shibli, S. and Nevill, A., 2013. Does doing housework keep you healthy? The contribution of domestic physical activity to meeting current recommendations for health. BMC Public Health, 13(1).

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