Can Housework and Yardwork Count as Exercise?


The physical demands of housework and yardwork can keep us on our toes. They often require a lot of bending, lifting and other forms of movement. So the question stands, can regularly doing housework and yardwork count as exercise?

Yes – with a few considerations in mind. Chores you do around the house and yard can burn calories and tone muscles. Even short bouts of mild physical activity can help improve your fitness level, especially for people who are just getting started with exercise.

However, chores and yardwork might not be enough to meet your daily/weekly physical activity needs. It depends on how long you work and how hard. Here are a few ways to take your house and yard duties to the next level to help you stay active.

Housework and Yardwork “Exercise” Tips

Keep Your Expectations Realistic. If housework and yardwork are your only forms of physical activity, they’re probably not going to give you a six pack. They can, however, boost your endurance and provide health benefits.

Add Chores to More Traditional Activities. If you add 30 minutes of chores to 30 minutes of more traditional activities (like walking or biking), you end up with a full hour of physical activity. Doing that every day can really add up!

Break it up. Physical activity is demanding, so you might not be able to do a ton of it at once – especially if you are doing something more strenuous like hand-washing a car in the heat. Breaking your chores and yardwork up into smaller bursts can help you stay active without getting burned out or overdoing it.

Pick up the Pace. Adding speed increases exercise intensity. Put on some upbeat, fast-paced music to help you get in the zone while you work.

Do Some “Spring Cleaning.” You don’t have to do it all at once, but give your home a deep clean every now and then for a total body workout. Here are some activities that can help you burn calories, move your body and stay active:

  • Vacuuming (do lunges while vacuuming for a bonus workout)
  • Scrub mirrors, doors and windows with up-and-down movements
  • Get on your hands and knees to scrub floors and clean under furniture
  • Hand wash your car and vacuum inside
  • Pull your weeds often; landscape your yard
  • Add lunges, jumps and squats to basic movements


Exercise is anything you do to stay active, which means that housework and yardwork can count. But to reap the most benefits, add regular periods of housework and yardwork to more traditional exercises to ensure you are getting enough activity. All of these efforts add up, work your body and have health benefits, do don’t think too hard and just get moving!

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