How many calories does moving burn?

Moving burns a lot of calories. More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Feb 8, 2023.

Preparing for a house move takes up a lot of time and energy, so you may have to give up many of your hobbies, interests, and everyday activities in the weeks before your relocation. Among other things, you may need to skip your gym sessions too. That, however, is not a problem – moving house is workout enough.

Packing, carrying heavy items around, loading and unloading are all rigorous activities that require plenty of energy and engage the entire body. Therefore, moving can be justly classified as a great strength exercise – and it counts as a good cardio workout and endurance training as well.

So, moving may not be a lot of fun, but at least it helps you burn calories.

How many calories though? How many calories does moving burn?

Read on to find out:

What factors affect how many calories you burn moving?

So, does moving burn calories? Yes, it does – moving is a strenuous activity, so it burns a lot of calories. The exact amount of calories a person burns while packing and moving, however, depends on a number of factors:

1) Body weight

The more a person weighs, the more energy it takes to move their body, so, generally, the more calories they burn.

Yet, things aren’t that simple – muscle mass also needs to be taken into account. Two people may weigh the same, but one may have a lot of muscle and the other – a lot of fat. The person with more muscle mass will burn more calories, because muscle tissue is metabolically more active and, therefore, requires more energy than fat tissue.

Since muscle mass is so important about the amount of calories burned, age and gender matter as well:

  • we lose muscle mass as we age, so older people burn less energy than younger people;
  • men typically have more muscle mass than women of the same age and weight, so they burn more calories.

2) Intensity (speed and vigor)

The more intensely a person works, the more energy they use up – so, the more calories they burn.

In fact, someone working or exercising at a high intensity (faster, more vigorously) can burn twice as many calories in the same amount of time as someone working or exercising at a low intensity (more slowly, less eagerly).

3) Object weight

There is no doubt that lifting and carrying boxes and furniture requires a lot of energy. Yet, carrying a lightweight box or a small furniture piece doesn’t require as much energy as hauling a sofa or an overloaded box – so, moving a lightweight item burns fewer calories than moving a heavy item.

4) Extra hardships

Moving is always difficult and laborious – certain circumstances, however, can make the process much more strenuous and, therefore, result in a higher calorie burn. Taking items up or down stairs, for example, burns much more energy than moving in or out of a single-story home.

So, to answer the question – “How many calories do you burn moving?” Depending on the above factors and the specific moving activity you’re performing, you can burn up to 500 calories an hour – so, moving is indeed quite a workout.

Here is a breakdown of the amount of calories different moving-related activities burn:

How many calories does packing burn?

While packing boxes is not an overly strenuous activity, you will still burn a decent amount of calories packing your belongings for moving.

When staying in the same room while packing, the average person is estimated to burn about 200 calories per hour. When walking from one room to the other to pick different items, the amount of calories burned packing boxes can soar up to 250-300 per hour.

Related: How long does it take to pack for moving?

How many calories does moving boxes burn?

Needless to say, lifting boxes and carrying them around uses up much more energy than packing, so the calorie burn is higher.

How many calories do you burn moving boxes?

Boxes aren’t too heavy (you shouldn’t make boxes heavier than 40-45 lbs for safety reasons) – so they aren’t too difficult to lift and carry. Carrying boxes typically burns about 350 calories per hour. The number can go up to 400 if you’re taking the boxes up stairs.

Related: How to pack boxes for moving

How many calories does moving furniture burn?

Furniture pieces are heavier than boxes and require more energy to haul around, so the amount of calories burned moving furniture is, of course, higher than the amount of calories burned moving boxes.

But how many calories do you burn moving furniture?

If you’re moving lightweight pieces (like chairs, for example), you will burn slightly more calories than when moving boxes – about 400 calories an hour. When carrying large and heavy furniture, however, you can burn more than 500 calories per hour. And if you’re taking furniture up stairs, the calorie burn will be even higher.

Keep in mind though, that lifting and carrying heavy furniture is extremely strenuous work that can easily result in accidents and injuries. You should never move a heavy piece on your own – you need a helper (or several helpers). Be sure to get the right moving equipment for the job (furniture dolly, furniture lifting straps, furniture sliders, etc.), use proper lifting techniques, and take as many breaks as you need. (See also: How to move heavy furniture by yourself)

If it’s not safe for you to do the heavy lifting – or if you’d rather not risk it – don’t hesitate to hire professional moving help. Professional movers are trained to move heavy items and have specialized equipment that helps them complete the job in a safe and efficient manner. The experts will do all the work for you – or as much of it as you request – and will ensure your smooth and trouble-free relocation experience. You won’t need to lift a finger, so you won’t burn so many calories, but the safety and success of your move will be well worth it.

Related: Benefits of using professional moving services

How many calories does cleaning burn?

Once all your boxes and items are loaded onto the moving truck, you will need to clean your old place before leaving it for good – either to get your security deposit back or to get a higher price for the home. And before you move into your new house or apartment, you will want to give it a thorough cleaning, of course. (Besides, you will most likely need to clean while unpacking and after your finish the task and take out the packing materials, too.)

Since cleaning requires a lot of energy, cleaning when moving adds a lot to the total amount of calories burned during the relocation process.

So, how many calories do you burn cleaning your old home when moving out and your new one before moving in? The average person burns about 300 calories per hour of cleaning, so you can easily do the math.

See also: How to clean your home when moving out; How to clean a new home before moving in

One final piece of advice – Be sure to eat healthily

Preparing for a house move takes a lot of time and effort, so it may be very tempting to opt for pizza or fast food during this busy period instead of preparing a healthy meal. What’s more, since moving burns a lot of energy, you may easily assume that such higher-calorie foods will not hurt.

Keep in mind though that overly processed foods and foods that contain a lot of sugar will give you only a short energy boost and will have a very negative effect on your health. Besides, no matter how many calories you burn moving, if you eat fast food, you may end up adding excess calories to your body rather than losing some.

Therefore, it’s essential that you continue to eat healthily during the moving process. Make sure you drink enough water too – you need to stay properly hydrated in order to keep your energy up and your focus sharp. Good luck with your move!

Must-read: What to eat on Moving day


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