Is cleaning the house a workout? We test it with the FitBit Versa.

We all have that one friend/relative/spouse who argues that cleaning the house equals doing a workout. Yes, you may feel that you’ve broken some sweat, but is it really significant to be considered a workout. Today I will attempt to test that thought and look at the amount calories burnt. Note that this is more of a fun experiment rather than an investigative one. Let’s go!


Workout or Walkout

To test this argument I will be doing common chores around the house: Wiping surfaces, vacuuming and mopping the floor. The level covered is only one floor with an area of 20 feet x 40 feet. Before starting, I wore the FitBit Versa and selected Workout as my exercise type.

FitBit Versa. Selected Workout as my exercise type.

Next I started wiping the surfaces (tables, desks, cabinets, etc). Then I proceeded to vacuum the area with my trusty vacuum cleaner and lastly wet-mop the same place. Everything took about an hour from start to finish.

This sight just says “I don’t want to clean, but I have to”.


Results: Kinda workout but not really

FitBit recorded 295 calories burnt in 50 minutes. Or 5.8 calories per minute. Let’s put that into perspective. Myfitnesspal from UnderArmour has just the details we need for this comparison. They have listed common gym workouts and how much calories a person weighing 68 kg (150 lb) burns over a duration of 30 minutes. We’ll compare those with the data we’ve collected from the FitBit Versa.

295 calories burnt in 50 minutes.
My heart rate during the cleaning.














Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a distance of 2.6 km burns 345 calories. Riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes burns 231 calories. With circuit training a person burns 264 calories and with weight lifting 112 calories.

Treadmill: 345 calories burnt.
Stationary Bike: 231 calories burnt.









Circuit Training: 264 calories burnt.
Weight Lifting: 112 calories burnt.











The simpler and more straightforward way to make a comparison is to calculate the calories burnt per minute. I’ve ranked them below.

1.Treadmill = 11.5 calories per minute.

2.Circuit training = 8.8 calories per minute.

3.Stationary bike = 7.7 calories per minute.

4.House cleaning = 5.8 calories per minute.

5.Weight lifting = 3.7 calories per minute.

What a surprise we have here. You burn more calories per minute doing housework compared to weight lifting? Okay, sounds abit outrageous but the totally non-scientific experiment seems to suggest so. Treadmill coming in at first place is sort of a given while exercising on a stationary bike isn’t that far off if you went for circuit training. So is house cleaning considered a workout? While the results are inconclusive, I do think it can be considered a very light workout. I suspect that the perception that it’s considered a workout stems from the amount of energy we exert during cleaning. It also depends on how thorough you are and whether you really get those nooks and crannies.


You still need exercise

So don’t put away your running shoes just yet. Exercise is still very much needed. Sure you might break a sweat or two spring cleaning your home but nothing beats sports, outdoor activities and the gym.


Source: myfitnesspal
Image credit: myfitnesspal, Icons made by Smashicons from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY