According to a recent study published in the journal BMJ Open, housework is associated with improved memory, attention span and stronger legs (which in turn means fewer falls) in older adults.
Regular physical activity is good for maintaining optimal physical and mental health.
And in older adults, it lowers the risk of long-term illness and falls.
But around the world, physical activity is well below recommended weekly levels.
In fact, this has been the case for decades, particularly in high-income countries.
Get out your chores checklist!
Because housekeeping involves physical activity , the researchers wanted to see if doing different types of household chores could contribute to healthy aging and/or increase the physical and mental abilities of older adults in an affluent country.
Their study included 489 randomly selected individuals Adults, between 21 and 90 years old. All lived independently in a large residential complex in Singapore.
Participants were divided into two groups: a younger group of 21-64 year olds (249, with an average age of 44) and an older group of 65- 90-year-olds (240; mean age 75).
Participants answered questions about the intensity and frequency of household chores they regularly do, as well as how many other types of physical activity they engaged in.
After adjusting for other types of regular physical activity, the results are attributed to sh that housework was associated with sharper mental abilities and better physical performance – albeit only in the older age group.
Different types of housework have different effects
The intensity of the cleaning work was assigned to certain cognitive domains.
For example, heavy housework led to increased attention scores.
Light housework, on the other hand, mainly benefited memory.
More frequent and intense housework has also been linked to improved balance and coordination scores.
Previous studies have also suggested a link between aerobic exercise and increased cognitive function.
“Light household chores” included washing dishes, dusting, making beds, washing and hanging laundry, ironing and cooking.
“Heavy household chores” included cleaning windows, changing bedding, vacuuming, mopping floors, and DIY jobs like sawing or painting.
Conclusion: Get out this household chores checklist!
This study suggests that “a combination of light and heavy household chores is associated with higher cognitive functioning, particularly in the areas Attention and Memory, Community-Living Older Adults.”
In addition, the higher cognitive, physical, and sensorimotor functioning associated with heavy housework could be plausibly associated with a lower physiological risk of falls in community-living older adults .”
How you can help motivate an older person to be more active
If you know some older adults who could use a little activity boost or are wondering in general How to help the elderly with household chores, check out the multi-functional household apron below. Have you ever seen so many bags?
Likewise, using chore checklist templates or chore planner templates can make things a lot easier, especially for someone who’s just getting back into chore cleaning after a long absence.
Check out the examples below to get the chore list up and running:
Finally, if you currently rely on outside chore services, note that there are many chore apps out there these days and even chore robots that can lighten the load!
Photo: by DepositPhotos