Objective. The purpose of this study was to describe the physiological and perceptual responses during two physically demanding household tasks: cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the living room. It also examined the relationship between predicted aerobic fitness and the physiological responses during the two tasks.
Method. Seventeen healthy women between 30 and 50 years of age volunteered as participants. They were interviewed to gather demographic information required for prediction of aerobic fitness and observed while performing each task for 17 min to 20 min in their own home.
Results. The heart rate, an index of circulatory strain, varied considerably among the participants and was moderately high during both tasks. Vacuuming the living room had a higher level of circulatory strain and perceived exertion than cleaning the bathroom. An inverse relationship existed between the predicted aerobic fitness and heart rate responses during the two tasks.
Conclusion. Routine household tasks result in a significant circulatory strain in healthy women. Persons with high levels of aerobic fitness experience a lower degree of circulatory strain.