Housework May Help Support Brain Health
Grab the broom! Engaging in household chores may support better cognition in older adults.
Physical housework was associated with improvement in certain measures of cognitive function, finds a recent cross-sectional study.
For older subjects, engaging in high levels of heavy housework was associated with 14% higher scores on measurements of attention than their peers who undertook low levels of heavy home chores, researchers found. Engaging in a high level of light housework, meanwhile, was associated with up to 12% higher scores on two measures of memory versus low levels of light housework.
The study results accounted for other forms of physical activity.
Light housework included washing dishes, dusting, making beds, doing laundry, hanging out laundry, ironing, tidying up, and cooking meals. Heavy housework included window cleaning, changing beddings, beating mats, vacuuming, washing or scrubbing floors, along with chores involving sawing, carpeting, repairing or painting.
High levels of light and heavy housework was associated with improvements in certain measures of cognitive function, among community-dwelling older adults, the researchers concluded, although future longitudinal and intervention studies are needed to establish causality.
Pharmacists can highlight such findings when discussing the importance of physical activity with older clients, many of whom may not get enough exercise. Household chores may offer a more attainable, low risk form of physical activity with brain benefits.