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Link roundup on housework as exercise

There’s a new study out suggesting that doing dishes, gardening, even showering– what the researchers are calling “daily life movement” can reduce mortality risk from heart attack and other cardiovascular disease in women. Of course, the news article features a woman doing dishes and smiling:

A smiling woman, washing a dish that doesn't look dirty at all.
A smiling woman, washing a dish that doesn’t look dirty at all.

This image reminds me of all those smiling women eating salad:

I have opinions about the new study, which you’ll hear about soon. But in the meantime, we at Fit is a Feminist Issue have been covering the housework-as-exercise beat for some time. In case you missed some of them, here are a few posts we’ve written about housework, fitness and exercise.

Tracy wrote about how calorie count lists for household chores is a set up to divert women away from movement they might love and toward more gender-stereotypical behaviors:

Shell Game: Why Knowing How Many Calories Your Housework Burns Is a Set-Up

I also wrote about the cleaning-as-cardio myth– its past and present:

Cleaning is NOT the new cardio: Women, housework and not working out

Sam wrote about some studies showing that extremely sedentary people may experience over-exertion evening after doing dishes or other ordinary life activities:

Hate exercise? You might just be much more unfit than you think

Check them out…

Readers, where does housework fit in your everyday exercise or movement routine? Do some chores count but not others? Let us know what you think.

6 thoughts on “Link roundup on housework as exercise

  1. I have tried a lot of basic housework during lockdown. I didn’t burn any extra calories though moving inside the house definitely keeps the mind awake. I would consider housework a good warm up before real exercise.

  2. I tend to count large binge tasks, like spring cleaning or moving outdoor furniture outside for summer as workouts in the workout counting group lots of us are in. I do think regular everyday movement is important. I used to have an ongoing argument with my partner about second floor laundry. He was in favour but I thought the carrying hampers of laundry to basement and back up again was pretty good exercise. Now with my rotten knee I’d probably be on his team but it’s a different house, different issues.

  3. Also it’s the gendered aspect of this reporting that kills me. There are never pictures of women carrying out the garbage! It’s always smiling women doing dishes. Finally there are lots of mental health benefits you get from exercise that I’m not sure translate to cleaning a messy house full of children! Like women get out of our houses for exercise for social reasons and also to get a break.

  4. Yet another attempt to convince women that taking on the whole of the family labor is somehow good for them, and to reassure women’s partners that it’s okay for them not to pitch in, because look! Their woman is getting exercise! See? She’s helping herself by cleaning up after you, a grown man! (I’m referring to cisgender heterosexual partnerships advisedly.)

    This is on par with that one Real Simple article that told women that if they’re feeling overstretched from family duties and work that they should go and volunteer somewhere because helping people makes you feel better! Yes, they really told women that the answer to feeling overworked was to take on more work, because women supposedly love to help.


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