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Vacuum and Dust Your Way to a Healthy Life

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A new study finds that people who are not in good enough shape to do strenuous walking, kayaking or biking can still reduce their risk of disability by doing light household chores.

Researchers found that people who spent more than four hours a day doing light physical activity such as vacuuming the house had more than a 30-percent reduction in their risk for developing a disability, compared to those spending only three hours a day in light activity.

“The bottom line is to stay as active as possible. Even spending time in light activity will be beneficial,” said lead author Dorothy Dunlop, a professor with the Center for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

Dunlop says the federal government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week, but many people have health issues that prevent them from pursuing that level of exercise.  Her research team studied almost 1,700 adults, aged 45 to 79, who were not disabled, but were at elevated risk for becoming disabled due to knee arthritis.

The researchers had the participants wear an accelerometer around one hip during their waking hours for about a week to measure the intensity of their daily movements.

The researchers checked on the participants two years later and found that people who took part in more light activity were one-third to one-half less likely to suffer a disability, compared to people who had the least amount of daily light activity.

The conclusion is some movement is better than none, so start cleaning that house.  The study appeared in the April 29 issue of the BMJ.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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