Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adults should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. At least two sessions per week should be strengthening activities that work the all the major muscle groups. Any physical activity is better than nothing at all. The aim should be to minimise the amount of sedentary time as much as possible.
Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer by up to 50%, and reduce your risk of early death by 30%. It also reduces risk of stress, depression and dementia.
And it can boost your all-round feelgood factor too! Being physically active can help you lead a happier life by boosting your self-esteem, mood, quality of sleep and energy levels.
But what if you find it difficult to get out of the house, or the very idea of working out has you - metaphorically- running for the hills rather than taking a stroll around the block?
Most of us are well aware of the benefits of getting active; many of us say we want to - and even mean it, but somehow can't take that first step into the unknown. Or can't find the time. Or whatever other excuse (sorry - reason) applies in our case.
The good news is that all is not lost - we may actually be doing more that we realise.
Activities around the home can have huge physical benefits and support mental wellbeing. In fact, researchers at Oregon State University found that 300 minutes of household chores and other light-intensity exercise may be nearly as effective as moderate or vigorous exercise for older adults. Activities such as hoovering, mowing the lawn and changing sheets all exert energy and are great all-round activities for improving strength but should be completed in addition to exercises such as running, cycling or brisk walking to gain the full benefits to our health.
Here, we show just how beneficial some everyday activities can be on the body.
Further reading and resources
Remember, while household chores can contribute to your recommended activity levels for good health, they should be done in addition to other forms of activity to feel the full health benefits. So why not build on your existing success by trying out something new? Here are a few articles that may inspire you!
How to get active your way - AXA Health
Keeping active as we age - AXA Health
For more tips on getting fit, visit AXA Health's exercise and fitness centre.
 Paul D. Loprinzi, Hyo Lee, Bradley J. Cardinal. Evidence to Support Including Lifestyle Light-Intensity Recommendations in Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults. American Journal of Health Promotion, 2015; 29 (5): 277 Retrieved here: DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.130709-QUAN-354. (Accessed 1 April 2021)