It’s a drag, we know. But turns out, doing household chores is really good for your brain as a new study has shown.
You may be guilty of it right now. Maybe you partied a little too hard over the weekend and maybe that basket of dirty laundry can wait a few more days. But you’re doing your brain a disservice by putting it off, as a new study has suggested.
Researchers examined 66 healthy older adults and what links there could be between doing household chores–like tidying, doing the washing, meal prep, etc.– and brain volume and cognition.
What they found was those who spent more time engaging in those sorts of activities had better brain function and volume, and here’s the interesting part, regardless of how much exercise they did.
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This was found to occur in the part of the brain known as the hippocampus, which plays a major role in learning and memory, and the frontal lobe which is associated with cognition.
“Scientists already know that exercise has a positive impact on the brain, but our study is the first to show that the same may be true for household chores,” Noah Koblinsky, study lead author and exercise physiologist, said.
“Understanding how different forms of physical activity contribute to brain health is crucial for developing strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.”
It’s possible, though scientists aren’t exactly sure, that this could be those who engage in household chores spend less time being sedentary, which we know can negatively impact health on many fronts.
Forming new neural connections through planning and organisation could also be an explanation.
“Besides helping to guide physical activity recommendations for older adults, these findings may also motivate them to be more active, since household chores are a natural and often necessary aspect of many people’s daily lives, and therefore appear more attainable,” Dr. Nicole Anderson, Senior Scientist at the RRI and senior author of the study said.