New research shows that spring cleaning can burn off even more calories than running a marathon.
Houseproud homeowners typically burn up 3,655 calories each year just by cleaning and tidying their homes in time for the summer.
That’s about the same as 30 large glasses of white wine or 20 chocolate eclairs – or a little more than one marathon run.
Over a lifetime this amounts to almost a quarter of a million calories or 783 bacon sandwiches.
The study was carried out with a group of home owners who were asked to monitor the amount of time they spent spring cleaning and the tasks carried out.
Popular tasks included dusting and vacuuming, emptying and cleaning cupboards, scrubbing floors, cleaning windows and moving furniture.
Cleaning cupboards burnt the most calories with those taking part spending on average four hours on this task alone, using up 952 calories. This involved emptying, cleaning out and repacking the cupboards.
Dusting was the least strenuous task burning off just 170 calories per hour. Those being monitored spent two hours doing this gentle task.
The average spring clean took the home owners 16 hours and 20 minutes spread over four days.
At 3,655 calories it was well ahead of a marathon run which typically burns between 2,500 and 3,500 calories depending on the runner’s height, weight and build.
One woman who took part said: “I’m surprised at how many calories I use just by giving the house a thorough clean. There is a lot of stretching and lifting involved so great for the upper body, and walking up and down the stairs and the ladder to get into the loft are great for my legs.
New research shows that spring cleaning can burn off even more calories than running a marathon
“I’m almost tempted to clean up more often now I know how beneficial it is!”
Another added: “I often ache after spring cleaning – now I know why! It is incredibly rewarding to see the house de-cluttered and gleaming, even better when I know I can indulge in a few of my favorite treats without feeling guilty afterwards.”
A spokesperson for PromotionalCodes.org.uk, who conducted the study said: “Housework is a great way to exercise and knowing how many calories it burns makes it much less of a chore. After all, as well as a lovely clean house, we’re also toning, firming and making ourselves much fitter.
“There are lots of time saving devices now which means our spring clean takes less time than it did years ago. But regardless of the help we have, we’re still stretching, lifting, walking and bending – all great for getting our hearts pumping and body working hard.”
A US study at Texas Christian University suggests that menus displaying the exercise needed to burn calories in meals can help people consume less.
The research team found that diners given this extra information ordered and ate less calorific food than other customers.
Knowing it takes two hours of brisk walking to burn off a cheeseburger may be more of a warning than being told how many calories it contains, the researchers say.
The researchers now plan larger trials.
Dr. Meena Shah and Ashlei James divided 300 volunteers aged 18 to 30 randomly into three groups.
One received a menu without any calorie information, another menus with the calories displayed, and the third menus that showed both calories and the amount of exercise needed to burn them off.
All of the menus offered the same choice of food and drink, which included burgers, sandwiches, salad, chips, soft drinks and water.
A US study at Texas Christian University suggests that menus displaying the exercise needed to burn calories in meals can help people consume less
Calories (kcal) are a measure of the amount of energy in food
Exercising burns calories
An average man needs about 2,500kcal a day
An average woman needs about 2,000kcal a day
The values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity
The study assumed a brisk walking pace of 3.5 mph (5.5 km/h)
None of the volunteers was aware of the reason for the study and the researchers took into account hunger levels when interpreting their findings.
The group given the menus with the extra information about how much brisk walking would be needed to burn off the food ordered and ate much less than the group who had menus with no calorie information.
They consumed 100 fewer calories, on average, as a result.
Dr. Meena Shah said: “This is the first study to look at the effects of displaying minutes of brisk walking needed to burn food calories on the calories ordered and consumed.
“This study suggests there are benefits.”
The researchers say brisk walking is something nearly everyone can relate to.
“We can’t generalize to a population over age 30, so we will further investigate this in an older and more diverse group,” Dr. Meena Shah added.
They will present their findings at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston.
According to scientists, intense exercise for just two and a half minutes a day could help keeps the pounds off.
A study shows that concentrated effort can burn as many as 200 extra calories, provided the spurts are broken up with longer periods of easy recovery.
It is the latest evidence to support High Intensity Training (HIT), whereby a number of short bursts of intense exercise are teamed with short recovery breaks in between.
Although HIT is not new, recent research suggests it can deliver the same physical benefits as traditional endurance training.
Researcher Kyle Sevits said: “Research shows that many people start an exercise programme but just can’t keep it up.
“The biggest factor people quote is that they don’t have the time to fit in exercise. We hope if exercise can be fitted into a smaller period of time, they may give it a go.”
Official guidelines state adults should do 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, exercise a week.
During the three-day study, five healthy men, all between the ages of 25 and 31, lived in a sealed off room so that their oxygen, carbon dioxide and water levels could be monitored to calculate how many calories they burnt.
They were also given a diet precisely tailored to meet their energy requirements. For two of the days, they spent most of their time in sedentary activities, such as using a computer.
On the last day they performed five 30-second sprint workouts at high resistance on a stationary bicycle.
Each burst was separated by a four-minute period of recovery in which the men pedaled slowly with little resistance.
The results found the volunteers burned an extra 200 calories on average over the workout day.
Although the researchers cannot prove the technique leads to weight loss, it suggests that intense, but brief, bursts of exercise could help people maintain their weight.
Kyle Sevits, of Colorado State University, which conducted the research, said burning an extra 200 calories a couple of times a week could combat average weight gain of a couple of pounds each year.
“Motivating yourself can be very hard. The way this could work in the real world is with the guidance of a personal trainer,” he added.
Experts believe HIT improves insulin sensitivity, which is important for keeping blood glucose levels stable, possibly because it uses more muscles than conventional aerobic training.
It may also help to break down stored glucose in muscles.
But scientists warn not everyone responds to this form of training because genes play a part in determining whether you gain any benefit.
“Anyone with medical conditions should seek medical advice before undertaking it,” they added.