Bad news for those who hate to do housework: you could die sooner! At least, that’s what an American study indicates.
Over a period of six years, the researchers followed a group of 302 adults aged 70 to 82 who lived alone. The team measured how much energy participants burned without making any changes to their typical daily activities. To do so, they gave participants specially formulated water to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in their urine after two weeks of normal daily activities.
The most active participants didn’t do any more traditional exercise than the others, yet they burned about 1,000 calories daily, about 600 more than the least active. Their higher level of physical activity came from the fact that they did more housework. People in the high-activity group on average climbed two more flights of stairs a day. About 12% of those who were the most active died during the study, compared to nearly 25% among the least active.
The lead author of the study concludes that any movement is better than no movement. Every little aspect of the day counts, so for older adults, doing household chores can take on much more significance.
The results of this study cannot yet be used to make official recommendations. Researchers will have to measure the impact of exercise intensity before proposing guidelines for older adults. However, the results provide additional proof that regular physical activity can help people stay healthy longer.
So don’t just sit there, get back to your mops!