We all know how exercise can help in many ways – including an increased possibility of having a longer life than those who do not break a sweat at least once a week. However, some may offer excuses as to why they are not able to exercise regularly. Some may say they are “too busy” with work or whatever personal tasks they have, while some may not be able to exercise due to health and medical reasons.
On the other hand, a recent study revealed that if you want to live longer, doing high-intensity workouts every other day or running marathons are not necessary. Instead, simple household chores will do, as per researchers at the University of California – San Diego School of Medicine.
While many people may whine over washing dishes or sweeping the floor, it can be a good way to move your body. As Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D. said, “Every movement counts.” LaCroix is the study’s senior author and a professor at UC – San Diego, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. This is good news for people out there who are unable to go outside and exercise because of the chores they have to finish at home.
Light Physical Activity
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed that “women over age 65 who engaged in regular light physical activity had a reduction in the risk of mortality.” Even simple household tasks such as folding clothes and cleaning your room can make a difference on your life span, the study suggests. “Activities like these account for more than 55 percent of how older individuals get their daily activity,” LaCroix added. Not only will you get a clean home but you also potentially add significant years to your life.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that the results of the research are similar in all participants, regardless of their racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weight, mobility, and age range. Around 6,000 older women aged 63 to 99 were asked to wear an accelerometer on their hips around-the-clock. For seven days, the device measured their daily activities. LaCroix’s study method is rather an unconventional one, using a device to measure data instead of the standard questionnaires.
Based on the study’s result, the elderly women who did 30 minutes of light physical activities daily “lowered mortality risk by 12 percent” and there was “a 39 percent lower risk” for those who did moderate activities such as bicycling or brisk walking. LaCroix suggested that being physically active does not necessarily mean that light exercises and simple household chores should be disregarded. In fact, “improving levels of physical activity both light and moderate could be almost as effective as rigorous regular exercise at preventing a major chronic disease.”
The study concludes that “there are health benefits at activity levels below the guideline recommendations.” Currently, public health guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activities per week for most adults. As of now, there is an ongoing increase in the aging society due to the “increasing baby boomer population in the United States.” LaCroix also stressed that current health guidelines should also recommend light physical activities such as simple household chores or walking around the block, especially for older people.