Study: No, Housework Doesn’t Count as Exercise

If you count mopping the kitchen floor and doing the laundry as exercise, nice try but you still need to hit the treadmill.

A BMC Public Health study found housework isn’t strenuous enough to count towards the 150 minutes of moderately intense activity you should be doing per week.

The study surveyed 4,500 adults and found those who included their household chores as part of their exercise were heavier than those who did other activities. This goes against the previously held notion that any kind of activity counts, as experts are now saying only when an individual’s breathing becomes more rapid and heart beat faster, does it actually play into the weekly 150-minute mark.

Marie Murphy, from the University of Ulster, who lead the study explained: “Housework is physical activity and any physical activity should theoretically increase the amount of calories expended. But we found that housework was inversely related to leanness, which suggests that either people are overestimating the amount of moderate intensity physical activity they do through housework, or are eating too much to compensate for the amount of activity undertaken.”

The senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, Chris Allen, says unless what you’re doing makes you “breathe harder, feel warmer, and make your heart beat faster than usual,” you shouldn’t consider it as exercise and instead engage in activity that meets those criteria.