Gardening, washing the floor or cleaning the kitchen could save your life, new research has revealed.
The report from McMaster University in Canada found that doing physical household chores five times a week for half an hour decreases your risk of death by 28 percent and that of heart disease by 20 percent.
And the more exercise you do – no matter what the nature of it is – the better off you are: if you stay active for 750 minutes a week you slash your chances of an early death by almost 40 percent, the study revealed.
The researchers are hopeful that their report will encourage people to get moving even if they do not have access to a gym.
For the study, researchers tracked 130,000 people for seven years. The participants were aged 35 to 70 and they were from 17 different countries.
At the start of the study, each participant provided information on their socioeconomic status, lifestyle behaviors, medical history, family history of cardiovascular disease, weight, height, waist and hip measurements and blood pressure.
They also completed a questionnaire on the types of physical activity they typically do, which the researchers used to calculate the participants’ average activity levels.
The team from McMaster University found that if everyone got 150 minutes of physical activity each week, eight percent of deaths would be prevented and the rate of people with cardiovascular illness would go down almost five percent.
The researchers emphasized that it does not matter what kind of physical activity one does: their exercise could come from time spent cleaning the house or even a brisk walk to work in the morning.
Only 3.8 percent of people who followed these guidelines developed cardiovascular disease, compared to about five percent of people who did not follow them.
And the study confirmed that physical activity is linked to a lower risk of mortality.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise throughout the week. In addition to this, it recommends doing strength training twice a week.
But estimates suggest that only a quarter of people worldwide meet these guidelines.
Dr Scott Lear, who led the study, said that he is hopeful that the research will motivate people to create an exercise routine.
He said: ‘Meeting physical activity guidelines by walking for as little as 30 minutes most days of the week has a substantial benefit, and higher physical activity is associated with even lower risks.’
And Dr Lear added that staying active through performing domestic duties could save money and resources that are spent on people with cardiovascular disease. He explained that this could be particularly helpful in low-income countries.
‘Physical activity represents a low-cost approach to preventing cardiovascular disease and our study provides robust evidence to support public health interventions to increase all forms of physical activity in these regions,’ Dr Lear said.