I don’t enjoy working out. Do I do it anyway? Yes, because it’s good for me. At least, that’s what my doctor keeps telling me.
I try to squeeze in workouts in my already overflowing days. I lift weights. I do the elliptical. Sometimes I even try to do a HIIT class (lord help me).
Once I even tried training for a marathon. That is until I fell off the sidewalk and twisted my ankle and decided it was divine intervention and the universe was trying to tell me something. Obviously, I listened.
Anyway, I work out so my body stays strong and healthy and my heart does what it’s supposed to and keeps right on beating.
But now apparently, I can lower my risk of heart disease without all the annoying “exercising” part. Woohoo!
A new study, from the University of California San Diego, found that women who do household chores have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Look, if this is true, I’m going to live to be a hundred.
I live with 4 other people. 3 of them children. And a dog. Household chores are a necessity not a want.
If I didn’t do household chores, we’d be living under a pile of laundry and dishes rivaling Mount Everest.
Researchers looked at the impact of “daily life movement” on cardiovascular health. Daily life movement included routine activities such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, and even showering.
It was summarized as just being “up and about.”
Researchers studied 5,416 healthy women between the ages of 63 and 97. Their movements were tracked with the use of an accelerometer device. The device measured the amount of time and intensity of daily movement and behaviors.
Women wore accelerometers for up to 7 days. A machine-learning algorithm was used to categorize each waking minute into 1 of 5 actions: sitting still, sitting while in a vehicle, standing, daily life movement, and running or walking.
After nearly 8 years of follow-up, the results were in.
Researchers found that the more time a woman spends doing household chores, the less likely they are to die from cardiovascular disease.
The study authors concluded that:
“Compared with women with less than 2 hours/day of daily life movement, those with at least 4 hours/day had a 43% lower risk of major cardiovascular disease, 43% lower risk of Coronary heart disease, 30% lower risk of stroke, and notably, 62% lower risk of Cardiovascular disease death.”
Wait a minute, 4 hours of household chores PER day? Suddenly a half-hour of jogging on a treadmill doesn’t seem so bad.
In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Viviana Navas said:
“Just daily chores, you know, cleaning your house, cooking, just keeping active during the day can make a big difference. It counts. Everything counts.
It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes to an hour daily, sweating. Awesome if you can do that. If not, do as much as you can with your daily activity.”
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men.
Approximately 1 in 3 women die from it each year. One person dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds.
And in many of these cases, it could have been prevented. Possibly just by doing the damn dishes (for 4 hours per day, mind you).
The study only looked at how “daily life movement” affects women but I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that this applies to men as well.
Does this mean that I’m going to start doing all the household chores in the name of health?
That’ll be a nope. After all, my husband and kids need healthy hearts too. In fact, I may just get them to start doing more because that’s just how much I love them.
Does this mean I’m never going to hit the gym again? Probably not. Experts still recommend at least 150 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for cardiovascular disease prevention.
But at least I know that while I’m rage-cleaning my floors for the umpteenth time, at least I’m doing something good for my heart.