As the seasons change so do some of your inside and outside chores, especially if you live in a four-season climate. For those in the northern United States, heading into autumn usually means raking leaves, packing up summer clothes, and pulling coats and other warmer clothes out of storage.

Regardless of climate, many people decorate their homes and landscapes for fall and the upcoming holidays, so lugging boxed decorations out of storage and spending time decorating are on many folks’ seasonal agendas.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that those seasonal chores are functional exercises that can burn more calories than some traditional fitness activities. In fact, raking leaves can burn more calories in an hour than a brisk walk or weight training session.

What’s more, because seasonal chores, like raking, are considered moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, time spent preparing for the fall season counts toward the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.


According to the physical activity calorie calculator on the American Council on Exercise’s website, a person with a body weight of 170 pounds (77 kilograms) would burn 308 calories doing an hour of yard work, such as raking. Comparatively, walking briskly at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour burns only 293 calories for that same 170-pound person. For those focused on indoor seasonal chores, using the same body-weight metric, an hour of housework at 231 calories is the equivalent of an hour of basic weight training.

The calculator gives you an idea of potential caloric burn, but keep in mind that these numbers are only estimations since your individual metabolism in any exercise session is influenced by many factors, including age, biological sex, body composition, fitness level and intensity of effort. Using a wearable fitness tracker that includes this personal information in its calculation will give a more accurate, individualized number.


When you go to the gym to work out, you carefully consider the weights you use and the time you spend exercising. You also gauge the overall demands on your body versus your fitness level and what you believe you are actually capable of doing. For instance, if you have only ever used 10-pound dumbbells for overhead pressing, you would know better than to switch suddenly to 50 pounds because you would likely hurt yourself.

Unfortunately, too many people forget to use that mindset when doing seasonal chores. Some look at the task at hand as simply needing to be done and just do it — or attempt to — without considering their own potential limitations, prepping their bodies for the demands of the task, and keeping in mind proper form and other factors while executing the chore. This lack of awareness can easily lead to injury.

To maximize your fitness benefits and lower your risk of injury, follow the tips below:

Warm up

With any form of exercise, it’s important to prepare for the associated movements and effort. Take a few moments to move your body in all directions and planes of motion while raising your heart rate. Begin with some gentle stretching and progress to movements such as arm circles, walking lunges, lateral lunges, jumping jacks, jogging in place and other similar warm-up exercises.

Use proper form

Just as you would execute an exercise at the gym, you want to perform your seasonal chores with the same attention to proper form. Lifting should be done by bending your knees and using your legs as your main source of power. Stay aware of your balance and maintain stability with a hip-distance or a slightly wider, even stance during most tasks. Whenever you’re twisting, as you would when raking or shovelling, focus on rotating from the middle of your back — never your lower back — to avoid strains.

Switch sides

Because most humans have a dominant side, we tend to favour that side while doing chores. But doing an hour of sided work, especially seasonal work that you don’t commonly do, could lead to significant muscle soreness and overuse injury. That’s why it’s best to switch sides every few minutes. It may feel awkward and slow you down a bit to use your non-dominant side, but hurting later will feel much worse and slow you down even more.

Make chores manageable

Be realistic about the tasks you are trying to accomplish. As with the earlier example of not using weights that you know you couldn’t lift, don’t risk injury by trying to do the impossible. Get someone to help with any heavy lifting beyond your capability, break up larger tasks into smaller ones and take breaks as needed.

Stay hydrated

Remember that an adult body is composed of up to 60% water. Even in cooler temperatures outside, we lose fluid through our sweat. That’s why it’s critical to take water breaks during your chores and keep hydrated after you’re done with your work.

Cool down and recover

Because your seasonal work may be less familiar to your body, there is a good chance you will feel sore afterward, having worked muscles in different ways than your normal routine. To lessen the chance of significant soreness, take a few minutes to stretch and breathe after you complete your chores. And then give your body some much-needed recovery by taking time to rest and put your feet up, eat a healthy, satiating meal and get enough sleep.

By following the guidelines above, you can safely maximize the benefits of fall seasonal tasks, getting your house, yard and body in shape for the upcoming holidays.

By admin