woman lifting vacuum cleaner

When you think about working out, you probably don't think of household works. But many tasks that you do around the house can increase your daily calorie burn significantly. If you're stuck close to home due to weather or circumstance, there's no need to put your fitness plan on hold.

Remember that fitness is a way of life, and to make it work best for you, you must be flexible about how you fit it in. The Mayo Clinic notes that all forms of physical activity--not just formal exercise programs--count toward your overall fitness goals. Try these ideas to shed some extra calories while you're at home:

Mopping and Vacuuming
A major cleaning session can help more than just your house--it can bring health benefits to you as well. Common tasks like mopping and sweeping work the muscles in your shoulders and biceps while burning approximately 112 calories for every 30 minutes of activity, according to Fitness magazine.

Washing Dishes and Dusting
While mopping and sweeping are more aerobic, dish washing and dusting are lighter household duties. Yet they still add to your daily calorie burn, to the tune of around 60 to 90 calories per every 30 minutes spent on the works.

Gardening
Outdoor works offer some of the biggest calorie burn for your body, while giving you a chance to be outside in the fresh air enjoying the seasons. Gardening fans have long lauded its mental health benefits--what better way to clear your head and decompress than running your fingers through soil! But gardening--which can involve digging, raking, hauling, hoeing, mowing, planting, and pruning--provides physical benefits as well. It burns more than 250 calories an hour while exercising your arms, back, and legs.

Painting
Another important part of home maintenance is painting. Whether it's the walls to your study that need sprucing up or the side of your house, if you do it yourself, you can burn close to 300 calories an hour. In addition to strengthening your arms by holding the paint brush aloft for extended periods of time, painting works the muscles of your core (abdomen) as well.

Cleaning Gutters
No one likes to do the annual gutter cleaning. But you might warm up to this task when you realize its high caloric burn--an hour's worth of work burn off around 320 calories! Because of the variety of actions involved in this activity, it also incorporates close to a full-body workout, engaging muscles in your shoulders, upper back, arms, and legs.

Get Creative
Your efforts to shave off additional calories at home need not be limited to housework. Consider these extra tips for extra credit:

  • Don't be a couch potato. When taking a break to read or listen to music, use the time to ride a bicycle bike, do gentle stretches, lift hand weights, or do push-ups. Based on HealthStatus calculators (which use algorithms from the Carter Center of Emory University), bicycle biking can burn up to 500 calories an hour, while stretching can burn over 200 calories during the same time period. You can burn nearly 50 calories with 10 minutes of moderate push-ups, and a 30-minute weight session can burn about 100 calories
  • Take the stairs. If your home has a staircase, you have a built-in fitness tool. Just five minutes of walking up and down the stairs can burn around 50 calories
  • Wash the car. Save a few bucks and have fun in the sun while you wash your car by hand--in a half-hour, you'll burn around 120 calories