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Study: Calorie Burn from Housework Often Overestimated

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Think you're burning the same amount of calories from cleaning your house as you would going to the gym? Think again. According to a new study published in the BMC Public Health journal, most people overestimate the amount of calories they're burning during housework.

Researchers from the University of Ulster interviewed 4,563 adults about their weekly exercise habits. They found that nearly 43 percent of adults interviewed reported activity levels that met the UK minimum weekly standard of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise. Of the activity reported, nearly 36 percent was related to housework like vacuuming, cleaning, and gardening, and the people who counted housework as part of their weekly exercise were heavier than people who reported traditional exercise.

They also found that women were more likely to report housework as part of their physical activity, and, of the women interviewed, only 20 percent met the physical activity guidelines set by the UK.

According to the Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide, you can get a small calorie burn from vacuuming (130 calories) and other activities, but traditional exercise like cycling can burn 400 calories in the same 30-minute span.

The bottom line: Don't count housework toward your weekly physical activity. You'll feel and perform better if you fit in the recommended physical activity by biking, walking, jogging, or doing other traditional fitness activities. Think of calories burned from housework as a bonus! 

Tags: Women, Health, Calories, Home