Physical demands of vacuuming in women using different models of vacuum cleaners

Joseph F. Norman, Jeffrey A. Kautz, Heather D. Wengler, Elizabeth R. Lyden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Women continue to have the primary responsibility for housekeeping, even after a cardiac event. Vacuuming is one housekeeping task that is often reported as difficult to perform due to angina symptoms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the energy expenditure and hemodynamic responses associated with vacuuming using five different models of vacuum cleaners. Methods: Thirty-six healthy women 50-59 yr of age (54.5 ± 3.1 yr) participated in this study. Energy expenditure was measured by indirect calorimetry using an Aerosport KB1-C portable metabolic system. After collection of baseline HR, blood pressure (BP), and oxygen consumption (VO2) data, subjects performed vacuuming and treadmill walking in one of six different sequences. Vacuuming consisted of using five different models of vacuum cleaners, three upright models (heavy-duty, self-propelled, and lightweight) and two canister models (standard and compact) for 6 min each. Treadmill walking was conducted at 2.0 mph (0% grade) for 6 min. VO2, HR, BP, and RPE were recorded during each task. The rate-pressure product (RPP) was calculated to estimate myocardial oxygen demand. Results: Vacuuming with the self-propelled upright model resulted in significantly lower VO2, RPE, HR, systolic BP, and RPP responses compared with some of the other models. Conclusion: Significant differences in oxygen consumption and myocardial oxygen demand are associated with vacuuming using different models of vacuum cleaners. When making recommendations to individuals regarding the least physiologically demanding models, the power assist features of the machine should be the greatest consideration. This important characteristic should be taken into account when making recommendations for patients with limited capacity, or those wanting to limit physiological stress due to a disease state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-369
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Energy expenditure
  • Myocardial oxygen demand
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Rate-pressure product
  • Rating of perceived exertion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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