Doing Household Chores May Be Good for Your Brain

Mopping floors, cleaning stovetops, dusting, and vacuuming may seem like hard labor, but new evidence may have you thinking differently about housework. A study published in Neurology in 2022 found a link between doing ordinary household chores and a lower risk of dementia. The researchers collected data from more than half a million cognitively normal adults ages 40 to 69, including information about their physical activity (leisure time and housework both counted) and mental activity, such as social interactions. They followed the subjects for an average of 10 years and found that regular housework-related activities were associated with a 21 percent lower risk of developing dementia. (Social engagement and other types of exercise were also beneficial.)

Photo by Kampus Production on

“That’s a pretty significant reduction, on par with what we’ve seen from medical interventions to remove amyloid or reduce blood pressure,” says Sudha Seshadri, MD, FAAN, founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. “I think the real takeaway from this study, as well as other research, is that we shouldn’t be prescribing a particular kind of exercise or activity, but that overall, not being sedentary is helpful in preventing dementia. Instead of seeing housework as drudgery, we can view things like doing the laundry and changing the sheets as doing something good for our health.”

“When you’re cleaning mirrors or windows or walking around the house with a vacuum, you’re exercising,” says Carolee J. Winstein, PhD, PT, professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “You’re moving around, you’re increasing your heart rate and getting your circulation going, and you’re getting out of breath. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also try to incorporate more structured forms of exercise into your day. Both are important. But if you didn’t have time to go to the gym today, but you vacuumed and mopped your floors, you’re still investing in yourself.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s