A study released by BMC Public Health concluded that housework does not count as a physical activity unless the person is breathing harder, feeling warmer and if the heart beats faster, BBC News reported.
The study was comprised of 4,563 adults and used a cross-sectional survey completed face-to-face to gather information about each person's domestic chores and housework activities, BBC News reported. Each participant completed a detailed interview about their daily activities, whether they played sports or did any other formal exercise, according to BBC News. They also recorded their drinking and smoking habits.
The study showed that domestic housework in 10-minute bursts accounted for 36 percent of the "moderate to vigorous" physical activity participants say they did, according to BBC News.
Researchers found that housework does not count towards the 150-minute daily physical activity needed for a person to remain healthy. They also found those who counted housework as exercise were heavier than those who did not, and did other physical activities, BBC News reported. Experts said these activities only counted when they made breathing more rapid and made the heart beat faster.
"Domestic physical activity accounts for a significant proportion of self-reported daily moderate to vigorous physical activity particularly among females and older adults," the research team concluded. "Such activity is negatively associated with leanness, suggesting that such activity may not be sufficient to provide all of the benefits normally associated with meeting the physical activity guidelines."
Professor Marie Murphy from the University of Ulster who led the study said housework is physical activity, but it does not increase the amount of calories being burned, BBC News reported.
Murphy found that housework was related to leanness among the participants and suggests people are either overestimating the amount of activity they do through housework, or they are overeating and the activity does not compensate. Either way, people are not losing weight during normal house cleaning and chores.