In the News: Study Reveals Even Household Chores Boost Brain Health

By Kathie Miller, Corporate Director of Marketing & Communications

Need more inspiration to do your household chores? Turns out, cooking and cleaning can improve brain health!

Listening to NPR this week, I heard a fascinating story about a new study that followed 454 individuals over the age of 70. Over the course of 20 years, participants engaged in tests and wore activity monitors. In addition, researchers conducted autopsies on their brains. The study concluded higher levels of daily activities were tied to brain health. Even those with signs of Alzheimer’s disease showed better thinking and memory skills if they were more active. What’s more, activity doesn’t have to be exercise. Basic activities such as cook and cleaning contributed to the increased levels that indicate positive outcomes for brain health.

This is perhaps just a starting point for more research. The study does not make clear the links between cause and effect, though it clearly confirms the benefits of staying active.

After listening to the story, if you want further guidance on how to stay active, you might consider consulting the second edition of “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” recently published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To whet your appetite, here are some highlights (paraphrased):

  • Move more. Sit less.
  • Each week, get at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of “moderate-intensity,” or 75 minutes to 150 minutes “vigorous-intensity” aerobic physical activity.
  • Two or more days a week, engage in muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups.
  • Incorporate “multicomponent” exercise that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Be certain to find activities that are appropriate to your level of fitness.
  • If you have chronic illness or conditions, be certain to understand how your conditions affect your ability to participate safely in regular physical activity.

This directly relates to our recently published article on Exercise & Brain Health. And I will be thinking about my brain health the next time I make dinner, wash the dishes and do the cleaning!

As Director of Marketing & Communications, Kathie Miller provides strategic guidance and tactical support for all areas of the GHI organization. As part of her responsibilities, she manages The Good Life blog and newsletter. Kathie joined GHI after nearly 15 years at NPR, where she honed her skills in brand and reputation management, content marketing and internal communications.