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It goes without saying that most of us have kept ourselves busy during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by spending our extra time tackling those long-avoided home projects or commencing new home improvement jobs. Tasks such as tiling or painting can demand a lot of physical effort and are therefore a good way to burn some calories indoors – and you kill two birds with one stone. 

Following this concept, decided to explore the idea further. To do this, it set out to determine which DIY jobs burn the most calories and what their level of intensity was. Three men and three women of average weight were asked to complete a variety of DIY tasks over 15 days while wearing a Fitbit tracker. Each task was performed for roughly 20 minutes and the results were multiplied by three to reach a standard measure of one hour for each DIY job. DIY expert Kane Hughes shared some of the highlights with us.

Coming in at No.1 for the DIY job that burns the most calories – and is thus deemed high-intensity – is sanding. The study showed that men burned 456 calories in one hour, while women burned 392 calories completing the task. Carpentry came in second. 

“Sanding is something most people can DIY,” said Kane. “If you’re sanding furniture such as tables and chairs, this can usually be done with sandpaper and can take half a day for a whole dining room set.”

Gardening was the highest burner of calories within the moderate-intensity group, with men burning 337 calories and women burning 306. Think digging holes, planting seedlings, trimming hedges, raking and weeding. 

However, the DIY job that burned the least calories was wallpapering. Completing this task, men burned 217 calories an hour, whereas women burned 180 calories. This is generally a difficult task that requires more mental effort than physical because the wallpaper must be cut to the correct lengths and patterns need to be properly aligned.  

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