Burn Calories Through Everyday Activities

For most people, the idea of working up a sweat on the treadmill at the gym to burn calories doesn’t sound inviting. Little do people know, a lot of calories are burned just performing regular activities.


Being physically active through just “normal” activities can burn approximately 300 calories a day, which adds up to a pound over 12 days. These activities include typing on your computer, cleaning, yard work, walking as transportation, or even fidgeting at your desk.


Keeping yourself moving a much as possible helps increase your metabolic rate. This is why people in manual labor positions usually have higher metabolic rates and can eat more or stay thinner.


According to Kimberly Lummus, MS, RD, of the Austin Dietetic Relationship in Austin, Texas, in 30 minutes a person weighing 150 pounds would burn calories as follows:

Sitting and staring at the television = 40 calories

Cleaning the house = 102 calories

Walking = 103 calories

Vacuuming = 119 calories

Playing with the children (moderate action level) = 136 calories

Raking leaves = 147 calories

Cultivating or weeding = 153 calories

Moving (pressing and unloading) = 191 calories


Cutting the grass = 205 calories

Biking to work (on a level surface) = 220 calories


What can we learn from this? Building more non-exercise activity into our day can still pay off. Finally, we have more motivation to clean the house!

Actively working to choose more physical options during a typical day can provide many opportunities to burn calories. For instance, the old tried-and-true option: choose the stairs over the elevator. Other more active choices would include:

Taking your dog for a walk rather than letting it loose in the back yard.

Perform daily house cleaning.

Walk to work or park farther away.

Walk down the hall to ask your co-worker a question rather than sending an email.


One way to help measure the activity level built into your day is to wear a pedometer (or use one on your smartphone). Knowing how many steps you take in a day can give a sense of how active you are, as well as track your trends when you start making new choices. You will likely find that as you become more active, being active becomes easier.

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