Can You Burn Fat While Doing Housework?

Does housework really count as exercise? Get-Fit Guy explores the results of a new study, and gives you 4 easy ways to boost your metabolism and increase fat loss with simple household activities, including cleaning, gardening, and even watching TV!

Ben Greenfield
5-minute read
Episode #162

Tip #2: Keep Your Body Cooler

Research has shown that when you or the room that you’re in is colder, you’re going to burn more calories to stay warm. Not only can you keep your home temperature in the 60-65o range and do your housework in a t-shirt and shorts, but you can also wear body cooling devices such as an ice vest.  These types of cooling devices are designed to make specific parts of your body colder, so that they burn extra calories by generating heat. The added benefit is that similar to a weighted vest, they also add more weight to your body! I talk more about the weight loss benefits of cold in the episode How to Use Cold Weather to Lose Weight.

Tip #3: Add Metabolic Boosters

This is a technique I use when I’m sitting for long periods of time, such as when I’m writing Get-Fit Guy articles or watching a movie. I have a simple rule: I must stand and do 100 jumping jacks (my personal “metabolic booster”) for each hour that I’m sitting. Whether you do jumping jacks, step-ups, body weight squats, or push-ups, simply stop every 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes while you’re doing housework to throw in a big calorie burning metabolic boost. It takes no time but makes a huge difference.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget to Breathe

Research has shown that when you or the room that you’re in is colder, you’re going to burn more calories to stay warm. 

You’d be surprised at how many extra calories you can burn by simply engaging in deep diaphragmatic breathing rather than shallow chest breathing. In the episode How to Breathe the Right Way, I teach you specific exercises that train you how to use your inspiratory and expiratory muscles properly. Once breathing deeply becomes second nature, you not only burn more calories, but your body and brain become more oxygenated and you have less brain fog and more energy too!

And these tips don't only apply to housework. Whether you're traveling and are stuck in an airport for hours, or are simply sitting around during the holidays, you can use these tips just about anywhere to burn a few extra calories and actually make those “non-exercise” hours count as exercise.

Of course, you should also pay attention to the other part of the study: compensatory eating.

In the episode How Exercise Can Cause Weight Gain, I point out that it’s been proven that if you do a hard workout in the morning, you’ll very likely to compensate and overeat later in the day – and the same could hold true for these household chores if you’re not careful. So what’s the best fix for compensatory eating? Write down what you eat. It’s that simple. When you record your food, you also do a much better job of measuring it, controlling it, and being aware when you are indeed using exercise as an excuse to overeat!

If you enjoyed this article, you should definitely check out the 2-part series on 12 Unconventional Ways to Burn More Fat and also How to Get Fit While Watching TV.

Finally, if you have more questions about how you can burn fat while doing housework, then leave your comments, thoughts and questions over at http://www.Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!

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Man with laundry and mop images courtesy of Shutterstock.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.