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Your broom can't beat your bike. People who rely on housework to burn fat are heavier than those who get their exercise elsewhere -- like walking or cycling, says a new study from northern Ireland.
Researchers surveyed nearly 5,000 people and found that domestic physical activity accounted for more than 35 percent of moderate intensity exercise. And the more time people spent doing housework, the more their weight went up.
How come? The researchers speculate that heavier people may perceive their around-the-house duties to be more intense. Chores often tax smaller muscle groups, which causes more perceived exertion with less of a boost to your metabolism. In other words, if your shoulder muscles are sore after vacuuming, you might feel like you got a better workout than you really did.
(Build a better performing body and a sculpted core with The Toughest Exercise You Aren't Doing (but Should)).
Chores certainly have their health benefits. A 2012 study found that just 2.5 hours of housework a week -- like mowing the lawn, carrying the groceries, and painting -- can reduce inflammation in your body. But you shouldn't bank on busy work to deliver the exercise you need.
If you like breaking a sweat in the comfort of your home, try this simple, do-anywhere body-weight circuit.