Study Links Housework to Better Heart Health

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It turns out you may not need to hit the gym every day to reduce your risk of heart disease, engaging in housework on a daily basis could also help keep your heart healthy.

A study from the University of California San Diego has found daily household activities (including gardening) all count towards lowering the risk of heart disease, especially in older women.


Researchers found women who participated in at least four hours of daily movement had a 43 percent lower risk of coronary and cardiovascular heart disease, a 30 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 62 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to women who logged only two hours of daily movement, SeniorsMatter reports.

“The heart does not distinguish where the movement is coming from,” study author Steve Nguyen, Ph.D. told SeniorsMatter. “The benefits of daily life movement are similar to the benefits for other activities like walking, such as muscle activation, increased energy expenditure (more calories burned), and improvements in cholesterol and metabolism.”

“Daily life movement includes all movements that the body makes from the time we get out of bed until the time we go to bed,” Nguyen said. “We hope our study adds this extra dimension to increase the amount of movement that we have in our lives and that those daily living activities that an individual already does count as movement.”

And while housework and gardening aren’t a direct replacement for moderate exercise, SeniorsMatter reports they still add up and count towards our daily exercise.

“Any activity that individuals do that involves movement will apply,” Nguyen said. “Older adults who are looking to increase their movement for health benefits should consider carrying out higher amounts of daily life movement as part of their strategy. Move more and sit less.”