Can Cleaning Give You a Six Pack

Written by Posted On Thursday, 26 June 2014 05:00
Change4Life Change4Life

It's a common misconception that doing the housework is an excellent form of exercise however recent research shows this is not necessarily the case. Any form of exercise takes time out of an already busy day and it would be easy to think that exercising while doing housework kills two birds with one stone. But a recent survey has shown that housework is not the best form of exercise. In fact those people who count vacuuming, DIY, gardening and cleaning as their form of exercise are fatter than those who spend an equal amount of time exercising in other ways. We are now being warned that we are only fooling ourselves into thinking we have met Government guidelines for the amount of exercise we should undertake by counting housework. This especially applies to the females in society.

The Government has started a campaign called Change4Life that advises people they don't have to go to the gym to get fit. Their suggestions are to be a lot more active around the home by taking up gardening, washing the car by hand and working up a sweat when vacuuming by using the smallest attachment and moving more. They also advise us to do strenuous exercise for at least 1.5 hours a week. Strenuous exercise means your heart rate increases along with your temperature but you are still able to have a conversation.

A recent survey by the University of Ulster asked more than 4,000 men and women how much exercise they had done in the previous week. The forms of exercise included walking, cycling, swimming and housework. Of those people questioned less than half met the Change4Life guidelines. It was found that women were more likely to count housework as their form of exercise and when these were taken out of the equation only 1/5th met the guidelines. The study was published in the BMC Public Health journal and it states that findings show those who count housework as exercise are fatter than those exercising in other ways and the more of that housework you do the fatter you become.

It's thought that the reason for this is that it uses smaller muscles that tire very easily and so your body tricks you into thinking you have done more than you actually have. Another reason may be that we tend to reward ourselves after a stint of housework with a sugary snack and a cup of tea. This kind of negates any benefit of the physical work your body has just done.

One of the researchers Professor Marie Murphy states that theoretically housework should increase the amount of calories used as it is physical activity. However she found that leanness does not relate to increased levels of housework performed in fact quite the opposite. Possibly due to overestimating how much physical activity participants to the research were actually doing or because they were trying to compensate for the activity by eating and drinking sugary snacks. A good form of exercise means your heart rate increases, you feel warmer and breath harder. Unless this happens when you're doing your housework it should not be considered adequate exercise.

So back to the initial question "Can housework give you a six pack" it seems like the answer is no. And if you're one of those people who counts vacuuming as part of your exercise regime you're heading down the wrong path. Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the housework. In fact quite the opposite. It's important to keep your body supple and flexible and housework certainly helps. But it is in no way a good way to get yourself fit and healthy and the time has come for you to look for a more effective way to exercise.

Perhaps it's time to take advantage of one of the many cleaning services available in and around Hackney, London. This will free up some of your time so you can spend it more wisely on a proper exercise routine. Many companies offer suitable cleaning services for home owners including end of tenancy cleaning around Hackney These services are now much more affordable for the man on the street and can indeed be cost effective. End of tenancy cleaning means you can spend time in the gym or going for a long walk rather than sweeping, dusting, vacuuming and cleaning before you move out. 150 minutes a week can be slotted into your normal routine if you delegate some of your chores to an outside company.

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Vanessa Faye

I love home design and working out!

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