Doing the morning chores might be giving you more than just a smug sense of domestic goddess (or god) pride.

According to a new study published in The Lancet medical journal, it could be the key to keeping your heart healthy.

Exercising for 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of early death by 28 per cent and heart disease by one fifth, Canadian researchers found.

However, you don’t have to hit the treadmill in order to feel the benefits, as lead researcher explained that whether you’re walking to work or simply doing the gardening, the form of physical activity is irrelevant, so long as the half hour period of exertion is completed somehow.

The study looked at 130,000 people in 17 countries and found that no matter what form of exercise they chose to do, being physically active for that small amount of time everyday extended lifespan and significantly reduced illness.

Less than three per cent of participants achieved their 30 minutes through leisurely activities that one would normally associate with exercising, such as running or swimming.

“Going to the gym is great, but we only have so much time we can spend there. If we can walk to work, or at lunch time, that will help too,” lead author Scott Lear, a heart specialist at St Paul’s Hospital in Canada, explained, reports The New Scientist.

His team estimated that if the entire population met these guidelines, one in 12 early deaths could be prevented and 4.6 per cent of heart disease cases averted.

Simple activities such as raking leaves or scrubbing the bath could burn off up to 200 calories, the Mail Online estimates.

Pass the marigolds.