Domestic Goddess Workout; Recent Research Claims a Shopping Trip Is Just as Good for You as Hitting the Gym and Housework Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer. We Liked the Sound of This So Decided to Investigate If Everyday Chores Really Can Get You in Shape

The Mirror (London, England), April 8, 2004 | Go to article overview

Domestic Goddess Workout; Recent Research Claims a Shopping Trip Is Just as Good for You as Hitting the Gym and Housework Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer. We Liked the Sound of This So Decided to Investigate If Everyday Chores Really Can Get You in Shape


Byline: AMY LINDSAY

FORGET expensive gym membership and gruelling workouts, the latest research claims the key to keeping fit can be as easy as half an hour with the Hoover or a healthy dose of shopping.

Two new studies have revealed that, in addition to the mental boost derived from retail therapy or a squeaky-clean kitchen, shopping and housework can also burn calories and shift flab.

Best of all, these low-intensity activities can be slotted into your daily routine, whatever your age or ability.

The research found that the average woman spends over two hours shopping each week, with every trip burning 200 calories and covering a distance of almost three miles. Over a year, this equates to walking a whopping 156 miles.

And experts at the British Heart Foundation are in favour of any activity that gets us walking, stating that just one shopping trip clocks up half the recommended daily amount of steps to keep us fit and healthy.

In addition, the findings suggest housework can reduce a woman's chance of developing certain cancers by as much as 30 per cent.

But while this all sounds great, can becoming a domestic goddess really help you burn fat? We sent Amy Lindsay to test exactly how many calories everyday activities burn in comparison to an aerobics class.FURTHER INFORMATION... Paul Morrison is a fitness instructor at Soho Gym, Clapham Common, South London. For more details call 020 7720 0321.

The Tanita Calorie Walk (pedometer and calorie counter) retails at pounds 12.99. For stockists call 0800 731 6994 or visit www.tanita.co.uk.SPRING CLEANI'M the first to admit that housework is my least favourite activity. In fact, the state of my flat by the weekend would give Friends' character Monica a heart attack.

But the thought of combining a spring clean with a workout tempted me to hunt out the duster and Marigolds.

Once I'd turned up the radio my motivation was boosted. I started with a quick dust and moved on to cleaning the windows.

When my arms started aching, I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and whizzed over the floors to work my back and leg muscles.

Next it was time to change the bed. Being barely five feet tall means it takes lots of contortions and stretches to fit on a clean double duvet cover - all good exercise that sent my heart rate soaring. Finally, I spent the remainder of the 45 minutes doing some bits and bobs of ironing in front of EastEnders to tone my arms and shoulders. VITAL STATISTICS TIME SPENT 45 minutes

HEART RATE INCREASE 38 bpm

PEDOMETER RATING 1,916 steps

CALORIES BURNED 166

MUSCLES USED arms, shoulders, lower back, thighs.

EXPERT'S VERDICT Paul says: "Cleaning is a good, if unexpected, way of burning calories.

"Housework chores such as vacuuming really work up a sweat and challenge most of the major muscle groups.

"Vary the activities, such as stretching to clean windows and bending to mop floors for maximum effectiveness and more efficient fat burning."TOP TIPSTop trainer Paul Morrison gives us his handy hints on how to maximise your shopping or cleaning workout

Wear comfy shoes. Amazingly, six out of 10 women always wear heels for a shopping trip.

Use a basket instead of a trolley. Carrying the extra weight around will help to tone arms and shoulders.

Use the stairs. Where you have the option, always walk instead of taking a lift or escalator.

Play music while you are cleaning - it subconsciously encourages you to put in more effort.

Pull in your tummy as you polish or wipe. This will help flatten your abs.SUPERMARKET DASHI MUST admit that my frantic trips to Sainsbury's on a Saturday afternoon have never struck me as health-promoting.

So in a bid to make the most of my shopping workout, I ditched the trolley and opted for a basket to work my arm muscles that little bit harder. …

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