Can Doing Household Chores Keep Your Brain Healthy? (parenthetically speaking)

My choice between doing household chores and almost anything else is a NO BRAINER!   My cleaning hacks are plentiful: 

  • Furniture dusty?  I open the windows when it’s windy to blow the dust off . 
  • Dirty floor?  I buy another throw rug to cover it up. 
  • Car needs cleaning?  Wait for the rain and drive around block

Supposedly,  there’s a major reason to consider reframing my relationship with chores— According to a study*  the benefits of doing chores include a major boon for brain health.


I find that music helps

The study sought to draw links between doing chores and brain health and cognition. 66 cognitively healthy older adults underwent three medical assessments:

  • a health evaluation
  • structural brain imaging
  • a cognitive assessment.
  • They were also asked how often they spent tidying up their home, meal-prepping, doing housework, yard work, and other to-do list activities.

The conclusion? Those who were ‘doing more chores around their home displayed more brain volume in the hippocampus and frontal lobe, which are the brain areas that help with memory, learning, and cognition. So seemingly, when performing mindless chores like scrubbing the floor or doing a load of laundry, you actually may be sharpening your brain.

The study was limited in terms of its narrow testing and focus on a specific age group, but it does track that the benefits of doing chores would include brain health.

  1. The organizational and planning aspect of chores  may promote the formation of new neural connections. (Maybe try creative expression: Doodle on to-do list, color-code the books on in your bookcase, and organize your spices alphabetically)
  2. Chores may also keep you active in a way that’s similar to low-intensity aerobic exercise, which can bolster heart health and, subsequently, help brain health.  Lots of movement is the most important brain exercise known to man (but not to women who’s wider hips are meant for sitting).

There are 3 well-researched areas that do increase brain health:

1.  Stress reduction

Furthermore, the benefits of doing chores can also extend to relieving stress, since cleaning can promote a sense of control, and organization can help calm down the nervous system. Considering that stress can compromise all facets of wellness, including our cognitive brain health. (Meditating on having a clean house calms me, as long as I don’t open my eyes and look around)

2.  Move

It’s suggested adding some creative movement into your routine. For instance, dance while vacuuming or dusting. Listen to music to make it as fun as possible. (I  prefer dancing while watching someone else vacuum)

3.  Novelty

Our brains seek novelty, changes and challenges.  Train your brain while doing chores in the house by changing things up is a way to introduce novelty implement new routines. Do a bit of research about the best methods that you can use for cleaning or doing laundry. (I watch videos on cleaning hacks but haven’t found one I’ve wanted to try.)

 My brain is undoubtedly rotting as we speak.  judy

BMC Geriatrics Journal,