Women Do Less Housework, Gain More Weight

Women Do Less Housework, Gain More Weight
If you are less physically active, you are more likely to put on weight especially as you go up the ladder in age. An interesting trend correlates with women packing on the pounds – they are doing less housework than previous generations. There has been an attitude shift in the female population and housework has become a dirty word.

I personally experienced this truth. Recently, on a Sunday morning in early spring I was literally vacuuming the cobwebs in my home when the phone rang. My girlfriend called to chat. “Let me shut the vacuum, so we can catch up.” In a mocking voice, she made it clear that it was absurd and mundane to clean my own home. This prompted a thought: When did it become demeaning to clean one’s home? I feel privileged to have a lovely home and garden. When I clean my home, I often achieve mental clarity and get some great “aha” moments. And just as important I get a good workout without paying a hefty gym membership.

The American Heritage Time Use Study found that the average time women do household chores dropped from 25.7 hours a week in 1965 to 13.3 hours a week in 2010. According to Exercise ETC's review of exercise-related research as compiled by Laura Abbott, MS, LMT this statistic shows that women burned about 857 calories per day in the 1960's due to housework. Currently women are burning 200 calories less per day working outside the home and performing less housework. Moreover, factor in sitting at the computer and sitting while watching TV and you can bet that the next statistical sample will show even fewer calories exerted.

As a staunch advocate of carving out “me time,” along with scheduling fun on the to-do list, am I contradicting myself by suggesting that women do more housework? Not if there are significant health benefits. Of course, every woman must choose for herself to find her balance. But can we please stop putting down women who choose a more traditional viewpoint?

3 benefits of doing housework:
  • You get a workout while accomplishing a clean space. If you mind your muscle while you clean, you reap more toning benefit in addition to a calorie burn and can strengthen your core as you protect your back.
  • Cleaning a physical space can help you clean out a mental stressor. Washing the dishes has often helped me wash away sadness. Cleaning can serve as a moving meditation. Who has not experienced catharsis when cleaning out a drawer or closet?
  • You can achieve true female empowerment because whatever you do with focus and integrity is not demeaning.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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