According to a new study, 150 minutes of regular activity per week — including vacuuming the rugs, walking the dog and sweeping up after your forgetful neighbors — decreases the risk of death from any normal cause by 28 percent, and cuts heart disease rates by a fifth.
The study, published by Scott Lear, from McMaster University in Canada, analyzed data provided from 130,000 people from 17 countries.
Participants were asked about lifestyle habits, socioeconomic status and medical history, and were also asked to fill out a questionnaire about physical activity habits during a normal week.
The study lasted almost 7 years, with information about cardiovascular disease and death for each participant recorded every three years.
The research found that there are additional benefits with being highly active. People who spent more than 750 minutes walking briskly every week reduced their risk of premature death by 36 percent, newscientist.com reported.
And you don't have to go to the gym to reap those benefits of physical activity, as household chores including vacuuming and scrubbing the floor, or simply walking to work, can help to extend your life.
"Going to the gym is great, but we only have so much time we can spend there. If we can walk to work, or at lunch time, that will help too," according to Lear, cited by newscientist.com.
The World Health Organization recommends that adults between 18-64 do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week and muscle strength training at least twice a week.
"The clear-cut results reinforce the message that exercise truly is the best medicine at our disposal for reducing the odds of an early death," James Rudd, senior lecturer in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Cambridge, said.
"If a drug company came up with a medicine as effective as exercise, they would have a billion-dollar blockbuster on their hands and a Nobel prize in the post," he remarked.