News & Insights 25 November 2021

Housework: everyday activities for cognitive health

You often hear about how physical activity is essential to a healthy life – improving physical and mental health, lowering the risks and effects of chronic diseases alongside reducing the risk of falls and, improving mobility as we age. Despite this physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous, or exercise based. However, a recent study looking at the link between housework and cognitive function of older adults suggests that even low intensity activities such as housework can improve physical and cognitive function – specifically attention and memory.

Most of the physical activity in the UK comes from non-recreational activities such as transportation, work and housework. Housework activities are a large part of everyday activity. This study found that a single bout of housework, regardless of intensity, is linked with improved brain function, brain volume and help reduce risks of falls. Everyday activities may not seem like much, but them can make such a big impact on your health and wellbeing without you even knowing!

Lead author Professor Shiou-Liang Wee told the British Medical Journal: “After adjusting for other types of regular physical activity, the results showed that housework was associated with sharper mental abilities and better physical capacity. But only among the older age group”.

This paper also stated that “our study suggests that a combination of light and heavy housework is associated with higher cognitive function, specifically in attention and memory domains, among older adults”.

At KiActiv®, we understand the importance of physical activity for the prevention and treatment of long term conditions. We recognise that physical activity has a critical role in improving not only the quantity but also the quality of life, and we want to empower everyone to take charge of their own health by increasing physical activity.

Every move you make counts, and it’s not just about walking or cycling – making the bed, putting the laundry away, gardening, and washing the windows all count. Structured exercise is one of many types of physical activity that have their own set of health advantages. But let’s face it: exercise isn’t for everyone, and for many of us, it’s quite intimidating. Shifting the narrative away from exercise, which only makes up 1-2 hours a week, to incorporate all 112 hours a week, open the therapy window and helps all of us, including older adults engage in more regular physical activity. Not only this, but everyday physical activity is more meaningful, achievable and motivating.

At KiActiv® Health we aim to support individuals looking to improve their health through their everyday physical activity by putting them back in charge. Imparting an understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move we make matters can allow anyone to make simple yet effective changes that result in a variety of health benefits.

The KiActiv® Team