What I missed most when I moved to the suburbs was the walking. Sure, it wasn’t fun when I lived in the city and had to push a double stroller during a rainstorm or carry heavy grocery bags home. But, even on days when I couldn’t make it to the gym, I got a ton of exercise. I regularly reached 16,000 steps on my FitBit without even trying.
Now, I reside in a completely suburban neighborhood, sans sidewalks, and nowhere worth walking to for miles. My kids ride school buses and I drive them to every playdate.
Within in a month of moving here, I googled “Does Living in the Suburbs Make You Fat?” and was amazed at how many search results came up.
In my 40’s, I have to work twice as hard as my city-living days to stay fit.
It got me wondering . . .
How many calories do we burn doing everyday activities?
Note: Calories below are an approximation, based on a 130-150 pound individual
1. Doing Laundry
Like you, I do loads of laundry. Usually, I sit as I fold and watch a TV show. I could burn more calories by standing but what fun is that?
55 calories per each load of laundry
On average, it takes me 30 minutes to fold, which burns about 30 calories. It takes me about another 10-minutes to put the clean clothes away, for an extra 20 calories. Plus, walking up the stairs and back down burns another 5 calories. This doesn’t sound like very much, at .17 calories for every step. Considering I do that I go up and down my stairs 10 to 20 times per day, it adds up.
2. Playing with the Kids
300 calories for an hour long soccer game
Join your kids in a soccer game. A 130-pound person burns 5.9 calories per minute casually kicking a soccer ball around. I tested this on the FitIV Pulse app and it was nearly spot on. After 12 minutes, I burned 63 calories and my heart rate was definitely elevated in a good way.
100 calories swinging for half an hour
The next time your daughter asks you to swing on the swing set, say yes. After 5-minutes of swinging, which felt like much more, I burned 16 calories. My daughter can swing for an hour without taking a break.
A 5-minute game of tag burns 44 calories!
3. Taking Out the Trash
50 calories per half hour of sorting & carrying recyclables
Our garbage gets picked up twice per week. I’m sure I don’t burn that many calories simply carrying it to the curb. But recycling day is another story. Every other week, I sort through my plastics, commingled, and paper items. I need a better system but the good news is I burn 105 calories per hour and it takes me at least 30-minutes.
4. Grocery Shopping
150 calories per shopping trip
Grocery shopping, running errands and making returns all involve me sprinting around, trying to get as much done in a relatively short period of time. And then, I have to test my patience standing in line.
An average person burns approximately 1.5 calories for every minute she stands. Assuming I stand in line for ten minutes, I’ll burn off about 15 calories. If I shop for 30 minutes, pushing a cart, I burn about 120 calories. Once home, putting away the groceries for fifteen minutes adds about 22 calories. All in all, not bad, as I’ve burned more than 150 calories.
5. Pushing a Stroller
150 calories per hour-long stroller walk
My baby days are behind me but pushing a stroller was quite the workout, especially when the second one came along and we needed a double stroller.
Few of my friends put on the same amount of pregnancy weight for the second baby and I think the fact that we walked everywhere had something to do with it.
Pushing a stroller burns close to 150 calories per hour. City moms walk much more than this on any given day. If you live in the burbs, make this a regular part of your routine.
6. Carrying a Small Child
100 calories per half hour
Oh, I remember those days. Your child doesn’t want to walk but doesn’t want to sit in the stroller either.
I’ve even used to carry one child while pushing the other in the stroller (see above).
In 31-minutes, you’ll burn 100 calories.
Don’t have a small child anymore? Carry a heavy bag. Imagine all the calories you burn lugging your gear to the beach.
7. Walking the Dog
205 calories per hour
I walk two miles every day with my puppy in my neighborhood, which takes 35-minutes. I typically burn about 120 calories. How do I know? I track my walks on my Apple Watch, again using the FitIV Pulse app.
Bonus calories if you decide to bathe your dog afterward. Giving him a 10-minute bath burns 38 calories, even more for a squirmy pup like mine.
10 to 40 calories per long laughing session
Put on a funny movie. Better yet, spend time with the friends that make you laugh the most. Just 10 to 15-minutes of laughing can burn between 10 and 40 calories, the more intense the laugh, the better.
300 calories for a good night’s sleep
Yes, sleeping. Again, this depends largely on weight and muscle mass, but I burn 38 calories per hour sleeping! I’ll take it. That’s close to 300 calories for a good night of sleep. There are even studies linking lack of sleep to excess belly fat.
10. A Mad Dash of Cleaning
At least 200 calories depending on the mess
You know the feeling, company is coming and your house is a disaster. Or, your cleaning lady is coming and you need to do a major tidy-up before she gets to you, or she’ll never clean there again.
Loading the dishwasher for half an hour burns 105 calories. I do at least two loads per day, which takes that long.
Making the bed burns 130 calories per half hour.
Oh, and when you start yelling because no one in your family offers to help you, well, that’ll burn up to 16 calories per hour.
Doing general housework, you burn about 165 calories per hour. Remember, that the next time you’re running around like a madwoman, going up and down the stairs, carrying things, and bending.
To find out more, check out this calorie burn calculator from Map My Walk.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.