Golf, gardening and housework ..

figure_sweeping_800_10765said to reduce risk of serious diseases. Really?

Gardening – risk of tetanus, nettle rash, slug pellet poisoning, not to mention muscle strain from digging.

Housework – falling off ladders, scolding yourself, dangerous cleaning chemicals, electric shocks, and dust mites.

Golf – getting drunk at 19th hole, boredom if you don’t play, being hit by a stray ball, being hit by lightening..

Need I say more?

So why do experts think these things are good for your health?

Basically it’s the exercise involved. They say we should be doing five times the WHO recommended minimum.

Playing an extra round of golf or gardening for a few more hours each week can help prevent five of the most common chronic diseases.

The research is based on 174 studies published since 1980 and the analysis found that increasing a person’s exercise level from 600 minutes a week to 3,000 -4,000 a week reduced the risk of heart disease by 16% and colon cancer by 10%.

This is the equivalent of climbing the stairs for 10 minutes, vacuuming for 15 minutes, running for 20 minutes or walking for 25 minutes – five days a week.

This level of activity also reduces the risk of diabetes by 14% and stroke by 16%. If you doubled the exercise levels you could reduce risks by a further 7-10%.

What is clear is that in terms of protecting oneself from the development of of these five common and potentially life-limiting illnesses, undertaking any level of exercise is protective, more is better, and should be encouraged by healthcare professionals, politicians, and charities alike, to decrease the burden of these debilitating illnesses in society today” said Oliver Monfredi, clinical lecturer in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Manchester.

And researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyons said that this study “represents an advance in the handling of disparate detainee a lifestyle factor that has considerable importance for the prevention of chronic diseases“.

What they’re not sure about is whether risk reduction is different when you exercise in short intensive bursts or do light physical activity for longer.

OK, I take it back about the gardening and the housework – but not the golf!

An earlier post on exercise


Women now have as much free time as men

stick_figure_mopping_floor_text_10548Gender equality at last when it comes to the time men and women in the UK spend on paid and unpaid work.

Over the last 50 years women have cut down the time they spend on domestic tasks by 90 minutes a day.

This is based on research in 14 developed nations carried out by sociologists at Oxford University. There has been a steady downward trend in the amount of time women spend cleaning, cooking and laundering since the 1960s.

Part of this can be attributed to technological advances and also the fact that we can now buy clothes relatively cheaply and need to do less sewing or knitting for example.

At the same time men have spent more time on these unpaid tasks over a week with the time increasing from 1 hr 35 minutes  a day to 2 hrs and 18 minutes.

Men and women typically spend 8 hrs and 20 mins working each day, just over 58 hours a week, but women still spend a higher proportion of time on unpaid domestic chores. They still work for 4 hrs and 20 mins a day without pay and do 66% of then unpaid work in the UK.

This puts women at a disadvantage in the job market as the more time a women spends on unpaid work the less time she can put into her job and networking.

A spokesperson at the Fawcett Society charity (currently embroiled in a debate about the £45 feminist t-shirts made by cheap labour i.e. 62p an hour) said “Women still take on a range of responsibilities from care for the elderly to childcare and it is one of the big hindrances standing in the way of economic equality”

The pay gap between the sexes is small when they are in their twenties, and in some jobs women are paid more, but the pay gap jumps to over 20% in favour of men when they reach their 40s.

This research doesn’t tell the whole story. In egalitarian Sweden women do the smallest proportion of unpaid work, 58%, but so many of them work full-time that they still end up putting in more hours than men. And in Spain, where women are putting in 74% of unpaid work, because they tend not to wok full-time they put in fewer hours overall than the men.


Short men make more house proud husbands

figure_clean_carpet_1600_wht_3782That’s according to a study by sociologists of 3,000 couples in the USA about how a man’s height impacts on his relationship.

Short men – under 5′ 7″ – were less likely to get married but once they did were less likely to get divorced compared with taller – over 6′ 2″ – men.

One reason for this (apart from gratitude cynics might say) is that they do almost eight and a half hours of housework a week, about an hour longer than the average and taller men.

The researcher said “shorter men may have a harder time getting married because they’re viewed as less masculine. Women who have traditional gender ideals might find them less desirable.

She thought the lower divorce rates were because women resistant to shorter men opted out before marrying them.

Short men are also likely to be the breadwinner as they typically marry older and less well-educated women. (1/5 of the short men in the sample were in a relationship with women who hadn’t finished high school).

I wonder how much housework Bernie Ecclestone (5′ 3″) and John Bercow (5′ 6″) do?