Love may make the world go round, but did you know that doing the dishes and weeding the garden will help keep your brain and body healthy?
Interestingly, research shows that physical activity from completing household chores is linked to better cognitive function and improved memory retention, attention span, and leg strength in older adults.[i]
And even better news, spending time doing housework increases brain volume, specifically grey matter, which is a strong predictor of brain health.[ii]
Plus, spending just 30 minutes doing light exercise from housework increases functional health while decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24%.[iii]
Gardening is another great way to stay active and healthy. It provides opportunities for weight-bearing exercises through tasks like weeding, digging, and planting. And soaking up the sun while you garden improves your Vitamin D levels, which in turn, improves bone health.
But the benefits don't stop there - gardening can also reduce the risk of dementia and other brain-related health conditions by lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.
And there is nothing quite like the mood-boosting effects of being outside in nature!
If that's not enough to convince you, a recent study found that gardening can even have a positive impact on the immune system of older adults, as well as decreasing low-grade inflammation that's responsible for raising the risk of infection, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.[iv]
So, next time you're thinking about outsourcing some of your household chores, remember all the amazing health benefits that come with doing them. And remember to dance while you dust!
[i] Lee SY, Pang BWJ, Lau LK, et al Cross-sectional associations of housework with cognitive, physical and sensorimotor functions in younger and older community-dwelling adults: the Yishun Study. BMJ Open 2021; 11:e052557. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-052557
[ii] Koblinsky, N.D.,Meusel, LA.C.,Greenwood, C.E. et al. Household physical activity is positively associated with grey matter volume in older adults. BMC Geriatr 21, 104 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02054-8
[iii] Dohrn IM, Kwak L, Oja P, Sjöström M, Hagströmer M. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity: a 15-year follow-up of mortality in a national cohort. Clin Epidemiol. 2018;10:179-186 https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S151613
[iv]Glenn Choon Lim Wong, PhD et al. Horticultural Therapy Reduces Biomarkers of Immunosenescence and Inflammaging in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Feasibility Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. Volume 76, Issue 2. February 2021. Pages 307–317.