People who count housework as exercise could be fooling themselves, research has suggested.
Including gardening, DIY, vacuuming or cleaning in a weekly exercise tally may give people a false sense of achievement.
Until now, studies have suggested housework counts towards a weekly round-up of moderate activity. This is despite advice which says housework does not raise the heart rate enough to count towards the goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
In the new study, experts researching the idea found that those who counted housework were actually heavier than people choosing other forms of exercise.
The study, published in 'BMC Public Health', followed over 4,000 people, of whom 43pc said they met or exceeded guidelines on exercise every week.
Domestic housework in 10-minute bursts or more accounted for 36pc of the reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity people said they did.
Study leader Professor Marie Murphy, from the University of Ulster, said: "We found that housework was inversely related to leanness, which suggests that either people are overestimating the amount of moderate-intensity physical activity they do through housework, or are eating too much to compensate for the amount of activity undertaken."