Home improvement projects provide a great opportunity to burn calories and get fit while enhancing your living space. Per estimates from GreenPal, common DIY tasks like shoveling snow, raking leaves, and painting can torch over 1,000 calories in an afternoon.

    Now, you can trade your gym membership for a toolbox and use this breakdown of calorie-burning home projects to get in shape while tackling your to-do list.

    Winter Home Improvement Workouts

    Frigid winter weather may keep you inside, but ample calorie-burning jobs await indoors. Shift some of your workouts inside during cold months with indoor projects that provide a heart-pumping activity akin to aerobic exercise. 

    Tackling indoor projects can easily surpass 1,000 calories burned. Popular options include shoveling or blowing snow (576 calories per hour), installing carpet or removing flooring (238 calories per hour), laying tile flooring (238 calories per hour), and sanding hardwood floors (238 calories per hour). 

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    When doing any unfamiliar DIY construction work, be sure to use proper protective gear like goggles, gloves, dust masks, and back braces as needed. Refer to local building codes and manufacturer guidelines for the safest practices.

    Spring Home Improvement Workouts

    As temperatures climb and snow melts, shift your workout outdoors for spring home maintenance projects. Fresh air and vitamin D add to the over 1,200 calories you can burn with various tasks to get your home ready for the warm weather.

    Excellent spring calorie burners include roof repair (340 calories per hour), saw carpentry work (340 calories per hour), pressure washing walkways (238 calories per hour), and basic plumbing repairs (136 calories per hour). 

    Outdoor work comes with hazards like heat exhaustion, sun exposure, insects, and injuries from tools and equipment. Always take sensible precautions like staying hydrated, wearing safety equipment, and getting help with overly strenuous tasks.

    Summer Home Improvement Workouts

    The long summer days lend themselves to DIY home projects. Take advantage of the warm weather, and you could burn 1,300 calories in one afternoon.

    Some summer sweat-inducers are push lawn mowing (400 calories per hour), shoveling dirt or sand (272 calories per hour), building or installing fences (340 calories per hour), painting your home’s exterior (272 calories per hour), and staining outdoors fences (238 calories per hour). 

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Yard work and outdoor construction jobs require proper preparation. Stretch muscles beforehand, take regular breaks, apply sunscreen, and stop immediately if you feel dizzy or experience pain. Have an emergency action plan in case of serious injury.

    Fall Home Improvement Workouts

    Before winter, fall offers prime weather to tackle home repairs. Many common fall projects provide quality exercise akin to strength training and cardio. Knocking out these fall chores can burn over 1,000 calories in one afternoon. 

    Some excellent fall options include raking fallen leaves (384 calories per hour), cleaning the gutters (272 calories per hour), hanging storm windows (272 calories per hour), and basic electrical work (136 calories per hour). 

    Choose the right tools for each job, assemble any equipment per manufacturer instructions, and inspect your tools for defects before starting work. 

    Take extra care when working with electricity and ladders.

    So, Should I Use Home Improvement for Exercise?

    If you dread the gym, home renovation projects are highly effective for fitness and burn as many or more calories than typical aerobic exercise. Added benefits like vitamin D from outdoor work, strength training from lifting materials, and improved mood from a rewarding project mean home improvements align well with physical fitness goals.

    Just be sure to stretch beforehand and use proper form when lifting to prevent painful muscle strains and more serious back injuries. Be aware of your surroundings and use appropriate safety gear for the task. Lastly, know your limits and recruit help for jobs requiring more than one person.

    As with any new or strenuous activity, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before you begin. But for most homeowners, DIY jobs offer an enjoyable route to getting in shape while enhancing your living space.

    FAQs About Home Improvement Calorie Burning

    Does project type matter for calorie burn?

    Yes. Certain repairs like shoveling snow or mowing the lawn burn far more calories hourly than lighter tasks like staining fences. Choose projects matching your fitness level and calorie goals.

    How can I maximize calorie burn for home improvements?

    Using hand tools instead of power tools will burn additional calories. Also, opt for strenuous jobs like digging, hauling materials, and climbing ladders. Pace yourself with water and rest breaks to sustain fat-burning heart rates longer without overexertion.

    Is it safe to use home renovation as exercise?

    As with any strenuous activity, consult your doctor before attempting, especially if you have health conditions. Prepare with proper gear, stretch beforehand, use appropriate lifting motions, take regular breaks, and stop if you feel any concerning symptoms like chest pain. Have someone check on you periodically for outdoor work. I also recommend monitoring weather forecasts so extreme heat, cold, storms, or air conditions do not threaten your safety during lengthy work.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Elise LaChapelle

    Elise LaChapelle


    Elise LaChapelle is a copywriter with over a decade's experience in the digital space. She specializes in blogging, website content, social media, and e-mail marketing across a diverse array of clients, helping them to connect with their target audience through concise, compelling messaging. When she's not crafting copy, Elise enjoys working out, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

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    Jeff Zoldy

    Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

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