A new study suggests that domestic activities such as gardening and cleaning don’t really make for much of a workout.
If you count housework as exercise, you may need to rethink this, experts suggest.
A new British study published October 18 in the BMC Public Health journal finds that gardening, DIY, vacuuming and cleaning shouldn’t count toward your 150-minute weekly totals of moderate to vigorous exercise.
Prior studies have suggested that housework can certainly make you break a sweat, but the new study suggests that people tend to overestimate how active they actually are when doing domestic chores.
University of Ulster researchers interviewed 4,563 adults on their workout habits. While nearly 43 percent of the population reported activity levels that met UK standards of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, domestic chores accounted for nearly 36 percent of reported exercise. Those who counted housework in their weekly exercise tally were heavier than people who chose other forms of exercise.
Perhaps not surprisingly, women tended to report more time spent doing housework as part of their physical activity. When researchers excluded housework as a physical activity, only 20 percent of women met the physical activity guidelines.
While vacuuming or sweeping floors can get your heart pumping, your calorie burn pales in comparison to activities such as cycling or running. Thirty minutes of vacuuming burns 130 calories; 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike burns 400 calories, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide.