One of the benefits of being stuck inside during a large chunk of this year is we could no longer ignore all those nagging DIY jobs that need doing. Whether it's wallpapering, putting up shelves or tending the garden, improving your house has definitely been one way of keeping busy during lockdown.
However, your green thumb or skills with a hammer haven't just been keeping you busy over the last few months: they've also been burning calories, keeping you fit and active.
A study of Fitbit data readings of DIY jobs, conducted by UK tradesperson advertisement service MyJobQuote, looked at how many calories people burn when performing various DIY tasks. Three men and three women were tasked to wear Fitbits and perform a variety of different DIY activities over the course of 15 days.
The study found sanding down rough surfaces was the best calorie burning DIY job of the lot. The act of sanding, which builds muscle on your arms in addition to working up a sweat, burned an average of 456 calories for men and 396 calories for women. In the Karate Kid, Mr Miyagi had it right when he taught Daniel Larusso how to sand the floor.
Not far behind was gardening. Whether it's digging up stubborn weeds, repotting plants or mowing the lawn, an afternoon of gardening requires a good deal fo physical exertion and lots of bending down and crouching, stretching your hip flexors. Gardening burned an additional 337 calories for men and 307 calories for women.
An extra bonus of gardening is the mental health benefits of spending time with your plants. In one 2010 study, 79% of patients surveyed claimed they felt more relaxed and calm after spending time in the garden. When stuck at home, it's easy to just stare at a screen, but getting back to nature in even a small way can yield serious mental health benefits.
The DIY task that burned the least amount of exercise is the already stubborn task of wallpapering, with men burning 217 calories and women burning an average of 180 calories. Still, it's better for you than an afternoon on the sofa.
There's never been a better time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into some DIY, burning a few calories in addition to getting some jobs done. Incorporating activity into your daily life is a great way to stay active and mobile.
Another way to incorporate activity into your daily life is ensuring you walk or cycle where you can instead of driving, as it's been proven walking to work helps you lose weight fast and improve your mental health.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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