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Are Your Household Chores Keeping You Physically Active?

It’s common knowledge that we should exercise in order to stay fit and healthy. Regular physical activity has been proven to reduce the likelihood of certain illnesses including heart disease, cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The NHS recommends that adults aged between 19-64 years carry out two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity each week, and that this should be combined with strength training on at least two days. If you work out five days per week, this boils down to 30 minutes each day.

That said, squeezing physical activity into our busy daily schedules may not always seem easy. Exercise classes, gym sessions and sports teams can all provide ways of maintaining or improving your level of fitness. However, they do tend to require a certain level of commitment that not everyone is able to meet.

But there are ways you can turn pockets of spare time to your advantage when trying to reach your activity goals, as this visual from demonstrates: by doing housework.

Using the recent World Athletics Championships as inspiration, the chart shows the approximate number of calories a person weighing 70kg would theoretically burn competing in each event; and how long that person would need to undertake a household chore to spend the same amount of energy. (Calorie figures were calculated using the MET value formula.)

For instance, it notes that:

  • lugging your shopping home on a nine minute walk can burn the same number of calories as a 400m race
  • two minutes of hoovering burns the same number of calories as the 100m sprint
  • the 3000m steeplechase is equivalent to nearly 45 minutes of gardening

Regular exercise is crucial for good health and well being, and household chores shouldn’t be considered a replacement for this. But the graphic shows that staying on top of housework, as well as helping to keep our lives in order, can be a useful tool in plugging small gaps in our fitness regimes.

If on busy day there isn’t enough time to don a pair of running shorts and hit the track, there may well be enough time to whizz through the house with a hoover.
You can see the visual in full and read more about how it was put together here.


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