Can You Burn Calories Without Exercise?

Healthy Living, Lifestyle

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // April 27, 2022

Yard work, cleaning the house and even grocery shopping are all tasks that fill up our to-do lists and also burn calories. An average person burns 1800 calories a day just by doing normal tasks. So staying busy is not only good for our homes, but for our health too.

While more intense exercise like HIIT training is essential if you want to lose fat, everyday activities can still count towards your recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Plus, the list below is a great way to burn calories doing things you enjoy!  The following activities are simple ways to burn calories without working out.

Benefits Of Moderate-Intensity Exercise

According to Harvard Health moderate-intensity activities are those that get you moving fast enough or strenuously enough to burn off three to six times as much energy per minute as you do when you are sitting quietly.

graph of moderate exercises

Graph Credit Harvard Health

So even though moderate-intensity activities might not seem like exercise, there are still great health benefits:

  • Increased energy
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and cancer
  • Lessened arthritis pain
  • Lowered risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreased  symptoms of anxiety and depression

Non-Workout Ways To Burn Calories

Gardening Burns 238 Calories In One hour

woman in green garden working

This might just top the list of favorite chores! Come March and April, people are ready for some sunshine and vitamin D, and gardening gives you an excuse to spend an entire day outside. Digging in the dirt and planting fresh flowers or veggies is hard work, especially when you have to pull weeds and clear out dead leaves or sticks leftover from winter.

Raking Burns 350-450 Calories In One Hour

rake and leaves

Rake up that dry, brown grass and uncover the green beauty beneath it. Raking your lawn and bagging the dead brush will burn anywhere from 350 to 450 calories an hour. But that’s not where it ends. Think about the upper body workout you get while you are raking! Your biceps, shoulders, and upper back will be sore, but strong! Just remember to avoid blisters by wearing good gloves.

Shopping Burns 500-600 Calories in Three Hours

woman in yellow holding shopping bags

If you’re anything like us, you’re thinking spring clothes sound pretty good right about now. It’s fun to clean out your closet, put away the sweaters and winter coats, donate the things you won’t wear again, and head to the mall to shop for something fresh and new. A 150-pound person can burn up to 200 calories an hour walking around at about 2 mph. And let’s face it—no one shops for just an hour!

Cleaning Burns 600 calories In Three Hours

woman cleaning the wood floor

Spring is the natural time to clean everything thoroughly and start fresh. Maybe cleaning isn’t under the category of things you enjoy. (Or maybe it is!) In either case, it’s a very active way to spend your day and it burns up calories fast! You’ll burn 153 calories for just 30 minutes of mopping the floor, 119 calories for 30 minutes of vacuuming, and 270 calories for 30 minutes of carrying heavy boxes and moving furniture around.

Related: 45 Fun and Healthy Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer

Painting The House Burns 1026 calories In Three Hours

woman rolling gray paint on white walls

There is something refreshing about painting a room. It not only brightens up the entire space, but it gives it a calm, clean feel. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars hiring a painter to do your next painting job, save the money and do it yourself. Paint is relatively cheap and you’ll burn tons of calories in the process.

Outdoor Clean-Up Burns 1800 Calories In Four Hours

blue bag and plastic water bottle

Neighborhood clean-ups are common in the spring. If your neighborhood tries to get one organized, make sure you take part! It’s great exercise and a wonderful way to meet your neighbors. If you head out from 12:00-4:00 and pick up trash, you’ll not only do something good for the community but you’ll torch 1800 calories in the process.

Mowing The Lawn Burns 306 Calories In One Hour

green grass and man pushing lawn mower

No, not with a riding mower! Pushing a lawnmower, even the self-propelled style, is a fantastic cardiovascular and strength activity combined in one. There is something very satisfying about mowing. Every time you make a nice, new line of completion in the grass it’s a sense of accomplishment for sure! Plus, you’ll get a great leg workout with bonus core strengthening when you pull your abs in to protect your back. The average person burns 244 per hour for a self-propelled mower and 306 for a traditional power push mower.

So what’s your favorite spring activity? What can you do to get outside and get moving?

Here are 10 ways to burn 100 calories

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