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Chores Not As Healthy You Think

Update Date: Oct 18, 2013 03:02 PM EDT

Vacuuming and doing the laundry may not be as healthy as people think, according to a new study.

Researchers said that claiming that housework is the same as exercise is a mistake because doing chores does not produce the same results as hitting the gym.

New research reveals that the same amount of time people who included housework in their self recorded moderate to vigorous physical activity tended to be heavier than people who reported engaging in other forms of exercise.

Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. Researchers found that only 43 percent of the UK population reported meeting or exceeding these guidelines, and two thirds of these people included at least 10 minutes of housework in their weekly count.

"Housework is physical activity and any physical activity should theoretically increase the amount of calories expended. But we found that housework was inversely related to leanness which suggests that either people are overestimating the amount of moderate intensity physical activity they do through housework, or are eating too much to compensate for the amount of activity undertaken," lead researcher Professor Marie Murphy of the University of Ulster said in a news release.

The findings also revealed that women and older people included more hour of housework as exercise. Not counting housework from the list of activities meant that only 20 percent of women met exercise recommendations.

"When talking to people about the amount of physical activity they need to stay healthy, it needs to be made clear that housework may not be intense enough to contribute to the weekly target and that other more intense activities also need to be included each week," Murphy concluded.

The findings are published in the journal BMC Public Health.

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