Home Household chores Here’s how engaging in household chores can improve brain health | Health

Here’s how engaging in household chores can improve brain health | Health


Engaging in household chores may benefit brain health in older adults, according to a new study. The study found that older adults who spent more time on household chores had larger brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health. The results of the study have been published in the journal BMC Geriatrics.

“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,” said Noah Koblinsky, lead author of the study. , exercise physiologist and project coordinator at Baycrest. Rotman Research Institute (RRI).

Koblinsky added, “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.”

In this study, researchers examined the links between household chores, brain volume, and cognition in a group of 66 cognitively healthy older adults living in the community. Participants attended three assessment visits at Baycrest Hospital, including a health assessment, structural brain imaging, and cognitive assessment.

Participants were asked about the time they spent on household chores, such as tidying up, dusting, meal preparation and cleaning, shopping, heavy housework, yard work, home repairs and cares.

The researchers found that older adults who spent more time engaging in such activities had greater brain volume, regardless of how much exercise they did. This has been observed in the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory and learning, and the frontal lobe, which is involved in many aspects of cognition.

While it’s possible that people with larger brains are more likely to take on household chores, there could be several explanations for the brain benefits of household physical activity.

First, we know that heart health is closely linked to brain health. It could be that household chores have a similar effect on the heart and blood vessels as low-intensity aerobic exercise.

Second, planning and organizing household chores can promote the formation of new neural connections over time, even as you age.

Third, it could be that older people who did more household chores spent less time being sedentary, which has been shown to be associated with negative health outcomes, including poor brain health.

“As well as helping to guide physical activity recommendations for older adults, these findings may also motivate them to be more active, as household chores are a natural and often necessary part of many people’s daily lives, and therefore seem more feasible,” said Dr. Nicole Anderson. , senior scientist at RRI, director of the Ben and Hilda Katz Interprofessional Research Program in Geriatric Care and Dementia, and senior author of this study.

This study was partially funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

As a next step, researchers would like to more objectively assess household physical activity using wearable technology. With additional funding, they could also plan controlled trials with the goal of increasing individuals’ household activity and studying brain changes over time.

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