A new study finds that simple household chores like washing the dishes and folding the laundry may increase your chance of living longer.

In the study, the researchers studied the data of over 6,000 white, African-American, and Hispanic women who were within the age range of 63 to 99 years when they took park of the ongoing Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health Study. The participants wore motion-sensing devices known as accelerometers for four to seven days to gauge their physical activity levels — daily movement patterns and intensity. Moreover, the researchers carried out a laboratory study in a subset of participant.

Results show that women who did light activities, like sweeping the floor or washing the dishes, everyday for 30 minutes had a 12 percent lower risk of death. Light activities accounts for at least 55 percent of how older people spend their everyday activities. On the other hand, those who did moderate to vigorous activity, such as biking and brisk walking, each day had a 39 percent higher chance of living longer. The findings of the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, indicates that even small amounts of exercise matter.

“Doing something is better than nothing, even when at lower-than-guideline recommended levels of physical activity,” said the study’s lead author, Michael LaMonte, research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York.

“This is remarkable because current public health guidelines require that physical activity be of at least moderate or higher intensity to confer health benefits,” he said.

LaMonte said that this is the first time that a study has shown the even physical activity levels below the guideline recommendations still provide health benefits in older women.

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