10 Everyday Activities That Burn More Calories Than Sitting

Okay, so you’re busy. And you don’t have time to go to the gym. Or you’re embarrassed: you don’t know how things work at the gym, what all the machines are for, if you have to make a reservation to run on the treadmill or something. Or maybe you just don’t want other people to see you exercise. In fact, maybe you are exercise-averse. It’s hard, and you don’t want to do it.

Well, what if I told you that you are doing it? Every day you are exercising, whether you realize it or not. You may not think you are an active person, but there are things you do every day that burn more calories than just sitting, things that could be the gateway you need to leading the more active lifestyle you secretly dream of, but can’t quite commit to just yet.

I used the calorie burn calculator at to determine how many more calories a 140-pound woman would burn doing a common activity for 30 minutes than she would just sitting/resting for the same amount of time. This hypothetical woman burns approximately 34 calories when she is at rest for half an hour.

Now, let me walk you through her hypothetical day to see how many calories she burns during typical activities and maybe you’ll see that just by living life you are on your way to being an “active” person.


  • Washing Dishes 1 of 9
    Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 11.26.41 PM

    The first thing she needs to do is wash all those dishes she left in the sink the night before. Right off the bat: 71 calories burned, even if it does take her 30 minutes. 

  • Housework 2 of 9

    And because she's already cleaning, might as well vacuum and pick up the toys: 92 calories gone.

  • Showering 3 of 9

    Now that the house is clean, it's time to make herself more presentable as well. After a long, warm shower, she's down another 134 calories

  • Driving 4 of 9

    Then it's time to jump in the car to do some shopping. Granted, she's mostly sitting but also breaking, accelerating, and steering.  67 calories get burned on the 30-minute drive. 

  • Shopping 5 of 9

    Pushing that cart around the store, pulling things of the shelves: sure it isn't that much effort, and yet it's 76 calories by the time she heads back to her car.

  • Putting Groceries Away 6 of 9

    Once she's back from the store, the groceries need to be put in their proper place. All that lifting and moving things around burns 84 calories. 

  • Carrying An Infant 7 of 9

    She's probably been carrying her baby all this time, but let's assume that now she's pacing the floor with her, putting her to sleep. And there goes 118 calories.

  • Running/Playing with Kids 8 of 9

    Once the baby is asleep, she has some time to go out in the yard and play with her other kids for half an hour: 126 calories burned.

  • Sex 9 of 9

    And finally, at the end of the day, it's time for some more adult play time. She burns 180 calories having sex with her husband. (That's 30 minutes of foreplay and 30 more of intercourse.)


Add these things up and you could burn a substantial number of calories. Just remember that if you are trying to lose weight, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in as food to get rid of one pound.


all photos: Lizzie Heiselt


Article Posted 3 years Ago

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