Healthy Thinking | The Fitness Benefits Of Moving House

The Calorie Burning Move

Is moving house starting to sound like it will be a workout? That’s because it basically is.


They say moving house is one of the most stressful forms of life admin you can experience. If you’re an avid gym-goer, though, you never look on an upcoming workout as a looming punishment in the same way, do you? Well, even if you’re not a keen exerciser, the fact is that a properly done session in the gym produces endorphins, which are the “feel good hormones” that leave you feeling good after a session – even if you kicked and screamed your whole way through.

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So how is moving house akin to a good gym session and how can you make it less about the stress and more about the workout?


With a little (or a lot) of pre-planning, depending on how much you have to move and the size of your house, have everything in place for when it’s time to move. This way you can think of it in terms of circuits and weight racks when the time comes to load and unpack. Have smaller items packed in boxes and larger items dismantled and bound so that none of the loose bits causes a problem when lifting.


Sounds obvious, right? These are things you probably already realise will make things run a lot more smoothly when you come to transport everything, but what makes this different is that you will be envisioning a workout plan as you go along. This means organising your boxes in size and weight.


For the morning you move, have all the details ironed out so that you can lift from one house to the moving van and then out the other side again. Now all that’s left is the hard work – and that’s what you pay a gym membership for, right?


What exercise is involved in moving house?


Frankly, an all-over body blitz and cardio while you’re at it. Because of the intense interval element of lifting and weighted movement, followed by the easier walk back from the van, you are essentially performing circuit training.


Depending on how you have stacked and prepared your boxes, you will likely be gathering them with compound lifts. Sound a bit technical for lifting a box of plates for the kitchen? Compound lifts mean that you are using multiple joints and muscle groups to lift, as opposed to single joint lifts which isolate one muscle group (bicep curls etc). There is still the opportunity for those too, but our suggestion is to create a plan as follows:




This one is for the heavier boxes – at least for getting them off the floor before someone helps you to walk them. Without willing extra work upon you, if 3-4 sets of a moderate number of reps usually suffice in the gym, upwards of 20 boxes should be no problem for you. You could get experimental here, too, if you’re really keen. With your legs spread straight and wider than your shoulders, use your hips to bend and perform a sumo lift.


Trap Bar Lifts


Okay, we don’t literally mean you should load a trap bar with household goods, though they would make effective if not oversized toilet roll holders. But if you have an assortment of heavy, handled bags, you could perform a similar exercise by squatting and lifting the bags with the weight taken more in your glutes and hamstrings.


By planning ahead you can also factor in how tired you may get and which muscles will fatigue. If your quads and hamstrings start to tire, have some smaller boxes waiting higher up so that you don’t need to bend. Lifting these will engage your core, back and arms. As for your shoulders, weighted walks will see your delts and traps get a workout, as well as helping with your explosive power when you launch it all into the van.


By no means least you should, therefore, consider nutrition as you would for any workout – especially a longer workout. All the compound lifting and cardio will burn serious calories, so it’s important that while you’re packing up the kitchen you leave some food out for energy. Stick to the 3:1 protein: carbs ratio to keep your strength up, as you’ll be needing it after a brief rest – you still need to unpack on the other side.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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