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Housework not classed as moderate exercise

Published on 18/10/2013

Housework and DIY do not provide enough intensity to count towards a person’s physical activity targets, research says.

Walking can provide better health benefits

Many thought that housework could count towards the recommended 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity required to stay fit and healthy.

However a study from the BMC Public Health surveyed 4,500 adults and found that people who counted housework towards their target were heavier than those who did other activities.

Moderately intense physical activity is defined as an activity that causes you to be short of breath but not out of breath and makes the heart beat faster.

The NHS does not recommend house work as part of moderate activity and does not count towards the weekly target of 150 minutes.

The study was led by Professor Marie Murphy from the University of Ulster and included a team of experts from the Universities of Ulster, Wolverhampton and Sheffield Hallam.

The team warned that whilst some activity was better than none at all, they should aim to meet the minimum target required on top of any housework activity.

Participants in the study were interview about their activity levels and if they played sport whilst also factoring in any other details such as eating, smoking and drinking habits. There was a focus on any activity that was linked to general housework.

Following the research the team found that those who factored housework into their weekly target were heavier than people doing other exercise for a similar time period. With housework discounted, just a fifth of women reached their weekly exercised target.

The team commented: “Domestic physical activity accounts for a significant proportion of self-reported daily moderate to vigorous physical activity particularly among females and older adults.

"However such activity is negatively associated with leanness, suggesting that such activity may not be sufficient to provide all of the benefits normally associated with meeting the physical activity guidelines."

Health insurance can offer gym discounts and promote healthy living in a way to improve your wellbeing and reduce your premiums.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

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