Simple household tasks such as doing the laundry, ironing or washing up may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, an Australian study suggests.
Researcher Genevieve Healy said while helping out around the house was no substitute for the 30 minutes of daily exercise recommended by health authorities, light activity was associated with a lower blood glucose level. High glucose levels are associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"Doing light intensity activity, such as doing the ironing or folding the clothes or going for a gentle walk, was beneficially associated with lower blood glucose levels," Healy told AFP on Wednesday. The study, by the University of Queensland and Melbourne's International Diabetes Institute, measured the glucose levels of 173 men and women for one week.
It found that for every hour of light chores completed, there was a 0.2 drop in blood glucose levels. "It just means that doing the shopping, getting around your house and doing those chores can actually help," Healy said.
Healy, from the University of Queensland's School of Population Health, said people should not abandon moderate or vigorous exercise. But they should attempt to replace sedentary behaviour with light activity, such as standing up while taking a phone call rather than sitting down.
"It does add up at the end of the day," she said. Diabetes, often caused by obesity and poor diet, has struck wealthy countries on a massive scale in the past 20 years.