Burning Calories: How Do Athletics Events and Household Chores Compare?

Many of us may view household chores as little more than a necessary evil. But there are physical benefits to keeping busy around the house and garden, as this new chart from Treated.com demonstrates.

Taking inspiration from the recent World Athletics Championships held in London, the visual guide compares typical housework tasks to athletic events; looking at the muscle groups worked, and the number of calories burned.

Using the MET value formula, the team was able to estimate the amount of energy a 70kg person would spend by taking part in a particular athletic event, or completing an everyday chore.

They then worked out how long someone would have to work at a household task in order to spend the same amount of calories they theoretically would on the track.

For instance, they calculated that:

  • running in the 400m event burns roughly the same amount of calories as nine minutes of carrying shopping
  • washing the car for two minutes would burn the equivalent of competing in the 110m hurdles
  • and two minutes of vacuuming would burn the equivalent of running the 100m sprint.

Active lifestyles

It’s been said that the advent of new technology in recent decades has resulted in fewer jobs which require straight-up physical labor; and that more and more people are now required to work in roles which are sedentary in nature.

This shortfall in physical activity needs to be made up somewhere: but not everyone may be able to commit to regular gym sessions, exercise classes or team sports due to time constraints.

Nevertheless, cardiovascular exercise and strength training remain vital for our overall health and wellbeing, and help to lower the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. Guidelines state that adults should be aiming to undertake two and a half hours a week of aerobic activity, such as swimming, running or fast-walking.

Housework isn’t a replacement for exercise. But maybe this visual helps to illustrate that, for those who struggle to meet their weekly physical activity targets through exercise alone, supplementing exercise with tasks around the home and garden can help.

If you have just half an hour to spare, you might not have time for a full-on gym session; but spending a little time whizzing over the lawn with the mower can contribute towards your active minutes (and keep your garden looking spic and span).
You can read more about the graphic was put together here.