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Chores reduce risk of heart diseases: study

People don't have to go to the gym to see benefits of physical activity, according to new study

Doing housework can reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

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Doing housework can reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

Doing more housework can reduce the risk of death by 28 per cent, according to a new study from St. Paul’s Hospital.

Dr. Scott Lear and his team took results from 130,000 people from 17 countries and found that even brief walks from the car to the office or vacuuming the home can prevent heart disease.

In fact, people who did 30 minutes of activity a day were 20 per cent less likely to get heart disease. 

“Being physically active doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to pay money to go to a gym, you don’t have to take a lot out of your leisure recreational time,” said Lear.

Lear, a health sciences professor at SFU, and his team were able to study the health benefits of manual labour because they collected results from low-income countries as well.

People in lower-income countries got their physical activity mostly through their jobs or from household work, he explained. Meanwhile, people in high-income countries like Canada generally get their exercise from sports or designated gym-sessions.

About 40 per cent of people in B.C. do less than the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, according to Statistics Canada.

But Lear’s study shows people can significantly reduce the risk of death by simply incorporating exercise into their daily lives. Lear suggests taking a walking meeting instead of a sit-down meeting at work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

“It takes being inventive but it doesn’t mean that it has to interrupt your daily routine. You just have to find ways of weaving it in.”

Lear co-authored the paper with Dr. Salim Yusuf, director of McMaster Uninversity’s Population Health Research Institute.

The study, called the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (PURE), was published in The Lancet last week.

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