Ask Dr. Nandi: How doing chores can help you live longer

Posted at 9:28 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 14:35:48-05

You may hate folding the laundry and washing dishes but it turns out that simple chores around the house could help you live longer.

If you don’t have movement in your life, you’re lacking a vital tool needed for longevity.  This study from the University of California is the perfect example as it shows you don’t need to run marathons to benefit. 

More than 6,300 women aged 63 and older were tracked with a measuring device on their hips for seven days.  After four and a half years, researchers found that every 30 minutes of light physical activity cut the risk of an early death by 12 percent.

They did a lot of what most people do on a regular basis: folding laundry, washing windows, cleaning the house, and walking to the mailbox. Movement impacts every function and process of the body so if you’ve been a couch potato a bit too long, here’s how to get going again: 

Partha’s RX

  1. See household responsibilities as possibilities for movement.  Vacuuming, sweeping or washing the floor are great ways to get exercise in. 
  2. Focus on what you’re capable of and start off slowly. Just standing and walking around contributes to good health.
  3. Take pride in what you accomplish but don’t forget to set goals. The more you increase activity, the more you’ll benefit.
  4. Try to walk around your neighborhood daily.  It can help lower your risk of developing several deadly diseases.  

The CDC recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week for adults. 

But too many people are discouraged by this number and don’t do anything. This study shows even light exercise below the recommendation helps.

But I should mention that the researchers also found an additional 30 minutes of moderate activity daily showed a 39 percent lowered risk of death for the elderly women in the study. So you’ll benefit even more if you can get in moderate exercise like brisk walking.