How Many Calories Can You Burn While Moving?

Moving: What a Workout!

Packing up and moving an entire house takes not only a large chunk of time but can also require a great deal of physical endurance and energy. As a result, people often feel obligated to put their other hobbies and interests on hold to dedicate more time to the move. However, cutting out a few trips to the gym shouldn’t hurt because the good news is that the activities associated with a household move naturally burn calories and engage your muscles. Let’s take a look at how activities such as packing, unpacking, moving furniture, and going up and down the stairs provides you with a full-body workout!

Important Note:
Moving is a strenuous activity. Always check with your doctor first to confirm it’s safe for you.

Packing & Unpacking Boxes Burns Calories

We aren’t experts, but according to an online energy expenditure calculator (, an average 150-pound person burns just over four calories a minute while doing moderate cardio exercise like walking (3 mph). Using those figures as a base guideline for calorie burning during a move, about 250 calories may be burned per hour. Let’s do the math!

How many boxes can be packed in one hour?

It depends on whether or not you pack things yourself or hire a trusted mover like Mayflower to professionally pack your belongings.

For context, it takes about 70-80 boxes to pack and move a 1,500 square foot home and about 150-160 boxes to pack and move a 2,500 square foot home. While experienced packers can pack an average of 8 to 10 boxes per hour, the less-experienced packer averages 5-7 boxes per hour.

A professional packer tackling a 1,500 square foot home can expect to take 10 hours to pack about 80 boxes and burn approximately 2,500 calories. A 2,500 square foot home would take 15 hours to pack about 150 boxes and burn close to 3,750 calories.

If you are packing and moving the boxes yourself, you can theoretically expect to burn even more calories. That’s quite a workout just for packing and moving boxes, and you still have to unpack your belongings! Again, check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you to do this work.

Moving Furniture Burns Calories

If you thought packing and unpacking boxes burned a lot of calories, moving furniture burns even more. A 150-pound person moving furniture can burn at least 397 calories per hour. This is a significant boost of calories burned in comparison to packing and unpacking boxes because you are using more muscles and lifting heavier items. Don’t forget to ask your doctor if these activities are safe for you.

Safely moving furniture works not only your back muscles but also your core, legs and arms; it’s truly a full-body workout. However, following proper lifting techniques is essential to preventing injury. Keep these guidelines in mind when moving furniture and large/bulky items:

  1. Be sure you’re fit enough
    Since moving is a strenuous activity, injuries could occur if you are not already in shape. Always check with your doctor first.
  2. Bend at your knees
    Carrying the weight of large items in your leg muscles will save your back.
  3. Carry items close
    When lifting and carrying large items and boxes, keep these items close to your body, so your upper arms help with the weight and save your forearms and lower back.
  4. Keep your spine aligned
    Preventing your spine from twisting and becoming unaligned will help prevent injury. If twisting is necessary to move an item, make sure you start with your hips and not your back.
  5. Get assistance on stairs
    The complexity of lifting heavy items and balancing on stairs increases the risk of injury. Smaller items (that are heavy) should be moved by two people, so the weight is evenly distributed. Go slowly moving these items up and down the stairs, and make sure you have an unobstructed pathway.

Moving Up Stairs

Stair climbing is considered one of the best exercises you can do regardless of your fitness level. As you’re walking up and down the stairs, you’re not only maximizing your cardio benefits (by quickly raising your heart rate), but you’re also engaging every major muscle in your lower body: calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, abs, and glutes. Walking up and down the steps for 10 minutes will burn approximately 102 calories (for a person weighing 160 pounds). Again, remember that safety is key when it comes to moving furniture up and down stairs.

Moving Is a Workout – Professional Packers Can Help

Moving is hard work; it requires time, energy, strength and coordination. Additionally, to prevent injury during a move, specific body-positioning techniques must be followed. If you’re up for the task, you can count on burning plenty of calories and getting in one intense workout. But if you’d rather get your exercise at the gym or with a more “typical” workout, your trusted moving company Mayflower is here to help with all your packing and moving needs. Leave the heavy lifting to us!

We offer full and partial packing, custom-crating for more fragile or specialty items, as well as unpacking services. Learn more about your packing and unpacking options offered by Mayflower.

Request Your Moving Quote Today

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