Clean house = lean body

Doing an hour of vigorous housework gets our blood pumping and bodies sweating as much as a gym workout, but what chores burn the most calories? MuscleFood.com decided to find out, and the results will make you view cleaning in a whole new light.

“We were really surprised by what we found, who would have thought that something as effortless as making the beds gives you the same workout as walking for a mile,” Darren Beale from MuscleFood explained.

“For many of us, fitting exercise into a busy schedule is tough, especially when you have these chores to fit in every week. Now you don’t need to feel as guilty knowing that whilst you’re cleaning the windows you’ve worked off that muffin you ate earlier.”

Coming in top with a whopping 560 calories burned is daily washing up for 15 minutes. This burns the same amount as a 2,500 meter swim. Who needs to get their hair wet when you can just get your hands a little soapy?

Next is three hours of ironing, which may sound like a lot, but doing a big pile of clothes in one go can work off 420 calories – the same as a Zumba class.

An hour of cleaning windows or mowing the lawn produces similar results of around 330 calories, meaning you could happily skip 20 minutes of HIIT training or 40 push-ups.

If you haven’t got time for a long slog when it comes to cleaning, 15 minutes of bed making could be your answer. Burning 65 calories, it’s the same as a one-mile power walk. Or try dusting, which will get rid of 25 calories – the same as two minutes of planking.

So instead of costly gym memberships and dreaded spin classes, get your feather duster, vacuum cleaner and mop out, ladies and gents. A clean house and a lean body, what’s not to love!

Want a toned tummy? Laugh more!

It’s long been suggested that laughter is the best medicine, and now it seems the old adage is actually true. According to scientists, a good fit of the giggles burns as many calories as a brisk walk – that’s up to 120 per hour. Don’t feel you have to walk around laughing like a loon though, as even just some low-key chuckling can burn around 20 calories an hour.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to get your jolly on how about this – laughing also works out the internal obliques, the group of stomach muscles which are essential for the much-coveted six pack. In fact, a good giggle has been found to activate them even more than a set of stomach crunches.

If you want to get the most out of your mirth, you need to find something really funny. Only an intense form of uncontrollable laughter will burn 120 calories an hour, dubbed the sort which makes you roll on the floor unable to breathe. Hearty laughs can cut around 100 calories an hour – which is nothing to be sniffed at.

On top of all this, giggling improves blood flow in the body which means it’s a bit like having a cardiovascular workout.

The findings come courtesy of comedian Dr Helen Pilcher, who has a phD in biology. She was enlisted to complete a survey by comedy TV channel Dave, and she’s suggested that watching funny programs of an evening could improve your overall health.

“This report raises the joyous possibility that watching comedy shows can help you to shape your six pack by targeting internal oblique muscles more effectively than sit-ups,” she explained.

“I definitely felt more toned after watching hours of TV comedies.”

Helen was quick to add that it’s important to be careful about your other habits too – so you’ll only see the benefits of laughing “provided you don’t eat any pies while you watch” the hilarious shows.