When housework is counted as exercise

Cleaning the refrigerator with one hand and sampling

Cleaning the refrigerator with one hand and sampling the goodies inside with the other is not a practical way to exercise. (Credit: iStock)

Perhaps the only good thing about housework -- outside of having a clean house -- is that it has typically been considered good exercise. But a new study indicates some people may be cleaning the refrigerator with one hand and sampling the goodies inside with the other.

About 43 percent of adults surveyed told researchers at the University of Ulster they met Britain's recommended requirements of 150 minutes of exercise a week. But two-thirds of this group reached the requirement only because they included housework as part of their exercise regimen.

An analysis of the data showed that those who included housework -- typically women and older adults -- were heavier than those who hit the exercise goal without including housework. Researchers concluded that people were either overestimating the amount of physical activity they got through housework or were "eating too much to compensate for the amount of activity undertaken."

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