Housework can reduce risk of early death

Doing chores could reduce the risk of early death, according to a recent study published in the bmj. In fact, the findings of the study, which was conducted by researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, revealed that any level of movement reduces the risk of premature death.

Combining data from eight studies from the U.S., U.K. and Scandinavia, with more than 36,000 participants who wore motion detectors on a belt around their waist over four and seven days in total. The participants were followed for about six years, over which time 2,500 died.

Researchers found a strong association between physical activity and the risk of dying. The association was also irrespective of the intensity of the activity, “meaning that increasing the total daily amount of physical activity through light intensity physical activity or moderate to vigorous physical activity substantially contributed to a lower risk of dying,” wrote lead author Ulf Ekelund, Professor in Physical Activity Epidemiology and Health Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, et al. in an accompanying article on the study.

The findings are important for older people to understand that even small amounts of exercise in varying intensity or light intensity can have health benefits and lower the risk of dying prematurely. Even physical activity across daily life, like housework, leisure and work, can have a health effect.

For the most active group, the risk of dying prematurely was 60% lower compared to the least active quarter of the group. Out of 1,000 participants, 23 died in the most active quarter of participants, while 130 died in the least active quarter––a five-fold difference.

“We also found that high amounts of sedentary time (e.g. sitting) above 9.5 hours per day was associated with an increased risk of death, whereas sitting levels below this threshold did not seem to be strongly linked to a difference in risk,” Ekelund and colleagues wrote.

The study was the largest to date on the link between early death and physical activity.