The Fit Family Chore List

Get double the benefit when you put the family to work on these chores!

Boy in living room using vacuum cleaner
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Busy families love to multitask—how else would we get anything done? So when you're facing a big household chore list, remember that taking care of all those tasks will also help you get in your workout for the day.

Kids benefit from helping out around the house. Not only will tasks get finished faster, but they'll also learn something new and get some physical activity in, too. They may even feel important (deep down, underneath the grumbling) by taking on more responsibility and becoming an active participant in the family.

These chores, in particular, top the list of calorie-burners and strength-builders:

1. Painting and Household Repairs

Some fixes are best left to the pros, but in most cases, you can probably handle prepping and painting a room. Kids can help, and are usually motivated to do so if they're working in their own rooms! You'll feel this one in your arms, shoulders, and chest, and depending on the type of job you're doing, even your back and legs (so, pretty much all over).

2. Lawn Care

A powered lawn mower still takes some human power to push, plus you're getting some steps in as you go. For a better workout and less pollution, you could consider an old-fashioned push mower. But remember that kids under 12 should not operate a lawn mower (and they should be at least 16 to drive a riding mower). In the fall, raking leaves is a fun chore that the whole family can help with.

3. Pet Care

Walking the dog: More steps! Playing with your dog: Physical activity for both humans and canines! Even if you don't have a dog, other pet care tasks like cleaning cages and tanks can burn some calories and also help kids learn responsibility.

4. Spring Cleaning

While everyday cleaning certainly requires muscle (seriously, why does it seem like you can sometimes sweat more when running the vacuum than when you're swinging kettlebells?), the bigger jobs offer an opportunity to burn some serious calories. From washing windows to cleaning underneath furniture and appliances to flipping mattresses or reorganizing the garage or basement, there are many ways to get a rigorous workout in just by doing a deep cleaning.

5. Gardening

Even if you don't have much outdoor space, involving kids in gardening activities and tasks can be very rewarding. They usually include fresh air, dirt and/or sticks, and water (dumping and spraying), plus you get beautiful flowers and plants or home-grown vegetables out of the deal.

6. Laundry

You may feel like Santa whenever you stuff the entire contents of your family's laundry into one big sack and haul it down the stairs. But that's your cue to put your little elves to work, and ask them to help you empty the hampers, strip the beds, collect the towels, and ferry everything to the laundry room. Kids can also help sort dirty clothes, fold clean clothes and return them to their proper places, and make the beds. They could also help pack away out-of-season clothing and set aside too-small items to be saved as hand-me-downs, or otherwise sold or donated.

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  1. Baranowski T. Increasing physical activity among children and adolescents: Innovative ideas needed. J Sport Health Sci. 2019;8(1):1-5. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.011