The Inside Story about Housework and Exercise

The Inside Story about Housework and Exercise
Past research studies have touted housework and gardening as good exercise. However, in a new study (published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health) from the University of Ulster researchers interviewed 4,563 adults on their exercise habits and those who counted housework in their weekly exercise regimen were heavier than people who chose other forms of exercise. Did the study account for personal execution and pace of housework and gardening?

Keep in a mind that a sedentary lifestyle has been blamed as a trigger for obesity, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and most inflammation-driven illness. Why would this new study claim that housework and gardening should not be considered real exercise? Anything that makes you get up and move is great. Clearly, the implication is that people tend to overestimate the calorie burn of home-based work outs and probably consume more calories. This could be true, but also holds true for those who exercise at the gym and consume more calories than they burn in their Zumba class or running on a treadmill.

Consequently, the issue should not be about burning calories to lose weight, but rather about movement for overall health. Since household chores need to get done and those who garden tend to love this creative hobby, why not combine these mundane movements with the awareness of a workout? In other words: Mind your muscle. And for those who are not motivated to run, cycle, or lift weights, these daily movements are far better than sitting on the couch and delegating the job to a maid or professional gardener. Also, if you exercise aerobically and lift weights, why not do more at home to reap a greater benefit than one hour in the gym?

Let your housework multi-task for you:
  • Do your housework with alacrity. Let it serve a double duty for you. This means turn on the music, pick up the pace to make vacuum cleaning or mopping more aerobic. Execute squats consciously when picking up laundry and toys off the floor. As long as you are cleaning the kitchen counter, do some pushups off of it.

  • Gardening is a great workout because gardeners usually lose track of time while getting Vitamin D and resetting their natural rhythm to shed noxious stress hormones. Also, consider that gardening could mean planting a few pansies and geraniums in window boxes or digging, pruning, raking, shoveling and lifting heavy bags of soil and mulch for a total body workout.

  • Moving the stress hormones out of your body while you cross off chores from your to-do list will promote healthier eating. You will be less likely to eat junk food driven by cortisol which packs on the pounds in the middle.

  • You will reap the rewards of satisfaction for DIY and save money.

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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