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Rediscover What Matters


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Burn Calories with Summer Activities

Summer is around the corner, with the chance to get outside and enjoy many of the things you have been missing since winter stopped by. The glimmers of hope - flowers blooming, gardens being planted, and open windows at our favorite restaurants - are all reminders to get outside and get active.

Here are 5 common summer activities that will also give you a good workout and burn some calories in the process.

Cleaning the house

259 calories/hour

On those first warm(ish) days, it may be a good day to open the windows, air out your house, and make it shine. Dust those hard to reach places, move and vacuum under furniture, polish and shine those dingy floors. While this may not be the most fun activity in the world, it does burn around 250 calories per hour* (based on a 150 lb. person doing an hour of light to moderate cleaning - average results may vary), and even more depending on how vigorously you clean your house. Activities like mopping, moving furniture, and climbing up and down stairs will add to this total. Not only do you get in a workout, but also get a clean house as a reward.

Painting a room in your house

294 calories/hour

Now that the weather is a little warmer, it is also prime time to tackle some of those household DIY projects on your list. Rather than looking at this as a daunting task, look at it as a chance to get in a good workout. You will be using your arm and shoulder muscles to apply the paint, especially in those high and hard to reach places, as well as your quads and glutes because you will need to squat down to paint some of those low areas, as well as cut in the paint around baseboards.

When all is said and done, you could burn up to 294 calories and once again; you will have a beautiful house as a reward.

Yard work

210 calories/hour

The coming of summer also means it is almost time to start putting in some time working on your yard. This means mowing the lawn, planting a garden, weeding, pruning trees and bushes or planting containers of flowers. You have the potential to get a full body workout and work up a sweat when you do things like carrying heavy bags of mulch, push a lawn mower, dig in the dirt or cut down branches. Just remember to use proper form when lifting heavy things, as you would in the gym, and you could burn up to 210 calories in an hour (and possibly more depending on how rigorously you garden). Once again, you get to work on your strength, flexibility and endurance while giving your house some curb appeal.


528 calories/hour

Now that the sidewalks are becoming clear and the wind is not causing your breath to freeze, it is a great time to start a running routine if you haven’t already done so this winter. Running at a moderate to easy pace (say, 12 min/mile) will allow you to burn up to 528 calories in an hour. Even though it may be warming up, the weather can still be unpredictable. You may want to follow our guidelines for outdoor exercise in chilly conditions for some pointers to set you up for success.

Washing the car

250 calories/hour

Let’s face it: salt eats cars. If you live in a climate that has snow, you may have not been so diligent about washing it in the winter months (it’s just going to get dirty again, right?). So, now is the time to give your car a little TLC and get some more exercise in as an added bonus.

Washing and cleaning the interior of your car can burn up to 250 calories per hour, with bonus points for waxing and washing the tires. Your car will thank you and your waistline will too.

Start up that workout routine

Once you start moving again, it's time to get back into your exercise routine. Check out the Cybex Workout Center and start working on achieving your fitness goals.

Abby is a fitness blogger and frequent contributor for Cybex. She is the principal and founder of Clever Fox Consulting. A lover of all things fitness, she enjoys long runs along the Charles, doing the workout of the day at her local CrossFit box, and doing interval training on her Arc Trainer.

*All calorie estimates are based on a 150 lb. woman using the Spark People Calories Burned app.