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Gym haters can burn more calories gardening, decorating or helping friends move house, study says

Gym haters could burn more calories by simply gardening, decorating or even helping a pal move house, according to new research.

The study by Selco Builders Warehouse discovered the calorie demand for common ‘tradie’ tasks and even household chores often competed with other physical activities such as running, team sports or gym routines.

The DIY task that burns the most calories overall is carrying heavy loads, which burns an average of 661kcals per hour – meaning helping a friend move house could replace a 60-minute high-intensity calisthenics workout.

Those who struggle to motivate themselves for an hour of cardio training could instead opt for a stint of gardening, as planting by hand and shovelling burns the same 496 kcals per hour on average.

Even an hour of painting the outside of your house is exactly comparable to an hour of resistance training, which generally involves squats, lunges and deadlifts – and both burn 413kcal on average. 

Heavy effort carpentry is the second most energy-demanding task, burning around 578kcal on average – the equivalent of an hour of jogging, and 39% more energy-demanding than a medium-effort resistance training.

The study found many of these DIY jobs could be more effective than power yoga, which burns around 330 kcals per hour.

According to Selco’s analysis, even the least calorie-demanding ‘tradie’ task, fixing appliances, burns more calories than an hour of low effort exercise, such as hatha (slow-paced) yoga (248kcal vs 206kcal on average). 

The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running) a week.

The study suggests that if you hate working out but love doing odd jobs around the house, you could be doing the recommended amount of weekly exercise in just a couple of hours, without hitting the gym.

Those working as a tradesperson could be benefitting even more due if they are putting in long working hours each week.

Selco discovered that gardeners and landscapers currently have the longest working hours amongst tradespeople, and that workers in trade professions generally work longer-than-average weeks.

The average week for a gardener or landscaper is of about 79 working hours, according to the Trades Union Congress, which is over double the number of hours the average UK employees puts in in a week, currently standing at 36.5 hours.

Other trades professions that worked more than the average working week were plumbers (46 hours, 26% more), electricians and carpenters (45 hours, 23% more) and painters and decorators (44 hours, 21% more).

Carine Jessamine, marketing director at Selco Builders Warehouse, said: “Our study has shown that many of the tasks tradespeople perform daily are extremely energy-demanding, with some burning the same amount of calories as an intense gym routine or a full hour of running.

“While this is certainly a positive aspect of the job, making trade careers amongst the most physically active ones, it can also take a toll on workers’ physical health in the long run.

“In fact, when adding this to the long hours that most tradespeople put in every week, it’s no surprise that many workers will often experience aches or pains, especially in their backs and shoulders.

“This is why it’s extremely important to ensure each activity is conducted safely, sometimes with the help of a colleague, to avoid any long-term injuries or accidents. Hopefully, our study could serve as inspiration for tradespeople to start taking some additional steps to look after their bodies on the job, and perhaps even start doing some warm-up exercises before the start of their day.”

For more information, please visit this page: http://www.selcobw.com/info/how-does-working-as-a-tradesperson-compare-to-a-gym-session

The DIY tasks that burn the highest number of calories:

1. Carrying heavy loads: 661 kcals, the equivalent of an hour-long basketball game. 

2. Carpentry: 578 kcal per hour, the equivalent of 60 min of jogging. 

3. Planting by hand: 496 kcal per hour, comparable to a 60-minute cardio workout (e.g. jumping jacks, burpees). 

4.  Shovelling: 479 kcal per hour, comparable to a 60-minute cardio workout. 

5. Painting house – outside: 413 kcal per hour, comparable to a 60 min medium-effort resistance training workout (e.g. squats, lunges, deadlifts).

6. Masonry: 355 kcal per hour, comparable to 60 mins of curling.

Photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

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