Cut the Risk of Heart Disease Through Simple Daily Tasks Anyone Can Do

Women making the bed

Everyday rituals may eliminate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease

Those tasks we deemed boring and annoying are good for us. Although I work full time, study and write, I’m still responsible for most of the domestic duties in my home. I can’t help it — I always have that little nagging voice that tells me “this should be done” and “that doesn’t look quite right”, and then off I go again, perfecting the less than seemingly perfect. Working and residing in a messy home doesn’t sit well with me. So that’s why I tend to go the extra mile when cleaning. Perhaps you feel the same too — or are in a similar situation. Maybe your partner or spouse helps you out — but it’s never quite the same as when you do it (that’s what I drive myself mad justifying in my head anyway!). You probably think that women bring it on themselves with that perfectionist attitude. I agree, and that’s why I wanted to soften the guilt by bringing to light some interesting research regarding housework. Although this applies to older women, we can all learn a thing or two at any age. We all have some idea that being active every day is essential. In the US, Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Those over 65 years of age are at greater risk. I have highlighted this on many occasions. But what I didn’t realise is that housework plays a positive part in keeping us active and reducing our risk of heart disease. Researcher’s measured the physical activity of almost 5,416 American women between the ages of 63–97 that did not have heart disease when the study began. These women wore an accelerometer for up to seven days, accurately measuring the time they spent moving and common daily behaviours resulting in movement. Prior studies to this measured activities like running and brisk walking. This current study focused on more minor actions that vary their intensity — such as cooking and cleaning. But, again, duties we would normally dismiss as impacting our health and wellbeing. 

The results showed that:

  • Women who moved for 4 hours a day had a 43% lower risk of cardiovascular disease,
  • 43% lower risk of coronary heart disease,
  • 30% lower risk of stroke and,
  • A staggering 62% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

This resulted from a small, forgotten daily activity that can accumulate to about four hours per day. 

Key take away

Taking a daily walk isn’t the only way to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. This study shows that small, somewhat insignificant movements like cleaning, cooking, walking to and from different rooms, gardening, and getting dressed add to the incidental activity. My understanding was that higher amounts of incidental activities get the best benefits. Given that the people who took part in this research were over 62 years old, we can sympathise that vigorous movement for older and less fit individuals might not be appropriate. However, starting with daily and regular activities that many women have spent many decades performing benefits our health. Although I never complain about housework — this is just another incentive to keep going — as it not only keeps our home neat, tidy and covid free — It’s also good for our health. If you would like to read more about this research, please view the following citations: Steve Nguyen, John Bellettiere, Guangxing Wang, Chongzhi Di, Loki Natarajan, Michael J. LaMonte, Andrea Z. LaCroix. Accelerometer‐Derived Daily Life Movement Classified by Machine Learning and Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease in Older Women: The OPACH Study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2022; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.121.023433 

If you would like to read more articles like this or start writing your own, please sign up via my link. I’d love to see you on the other side. ???????? Sign up here for your medium subscription. I get a portion of your monthly fee at no extra cost to you, and it will go a long way in supporting me as a writer. 

If you would like to express gratitude with coffee, send the love via this link.

Leave a Reply