Instead, the pressure continues to mount up when we return home.
The scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recruited 113 men and women in full-time work.
Each one provided details on how many hours they worked, what level of responsibility they took on for running the home and the chores they did.
They then underwent regular blood pressure checks at a local clinic over a three-week period, before finally wearing a blood pressure monitor for a day to track changes at work and home.
The results showed that regardless of the amount of housework actually done, those who felt they were shouldering the responsibility were at the greatest risk of high blood pressure.
The findings, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, suggest it’s not the workload itself but the stress about how to cope with it that causes the damage.
The researchers said: ‘The perceived responsibility for household tasks, rather than the time spent doing those tasks, is what’s most distressing.’
But some household tasks are worse for the heart than others.
The strongest link with high blood pressure came from domestic chores done, such as cleaning, cooking and shopping.
Next came car maintenance and repair, paying the bills and keeping on top of the household budget.
Many parents may not agree, but looking after children had no adverse effects on blood pressure. Curiously, the women took looking after pets in their stride, but men tended to become stressed by the responsibility.
Although there have been hundreds of studies investigating the links between stress at work and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, little research has been done into whether running a home and family has a similar effect.
Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer. Around 270,000 people suffer a heart attack every year and nearly one in three die before they even reach hospital.
And high blood pressure, which affects one in five people in the UK, is blamed for half of heart attacks and strokes.
The higher it climbs, the greater the force exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries when the heart beats.
Clinical guidelines state the ideal limit for blood pressure is a systolic reading of 140mmHg and a diastolic reading of 90mmHg.
Systolic is the pressure inside arteries when the heart is forcing blood through them and diastolic is the pressure when the heart relaxes.
Household chores increased systolic readings by as much as 4.4mmHg, taking care of house or car repairs by 2.64mmHg and paying bills by 1.66mmHg. Poorer families were more likely to be affected than better off ones.
Although some research suggests vigorous housework may be good for the heart, researchers believe the repetitive nature of cleaning, for example, may add to stress-related blood pressure problems rather than alleviate them.
In a report on their findings they said: ‘Household chores are notable for their routine nature, often characterised by a relatively low level of challenge and few intrinsic rewards.
‘This works supports the notion that the relatively important implications for the cardiovascular health of both men and women.’
Previous research has linked housework with premature labour. Once again, the ‘boring and repetitive’ nature was blamed.