How household chores keep you healthy

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Researchers from Canada's McMaster University claim that carrying out physical tasks around the home, from washing floors to gardening, can slash the chances of dying by 28 per cent, while the likelihood of heart disease drops by 20 per cent.

It's more about the exercise involved in the activities though, with experts also discovering staying active for 750 minutes a week cuts the risk of death by almost 40 per cent.

To come to their conclusions, the team followed 130,000 people aged between 35 and 70, from 17 different countries, for seven years. Each subject gave details on themselves at the beginning of the experiment, detailing their weight, height, measurements, lifestyle habits, blood pressure, socioeconomic status and family history of cardiovascular disease. Physical activity was also logged to estimate average fitness levels.

While monitoring the participants, it was found that if each person completed 150 minutes of physical activity a week, it would prevent eight per cent of deaths as well as lower the rate of people developing heart problems by nearly five per cent.

Around five per cent of people who didn't follow the guidelines were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, compared to 3.8 per cent of those who did, while mortality levels also lowered with more movement.

Study leader Dr. Scott Lear is optimistic that these results will encourage people to take up more physical activities.

"Meeting physical activity guidelines by walking for as little as 30 minutes most days of the week has a substantial benefit, and higher physical activity is associated with even lower risks," he explained, noting that household chores are a cheaper alternative to paying for fitness classes or the gym. "Physical activity represents a low-cost approach to preventing cardiovascular disease and our study provides robust evidence to support public health interventions to increase all forms of physical activity in these regions."

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