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​Boost your health with housework

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Living in a clean house means living in a happy home. True, but why? Is it because our mood increases from seeing clean surfaces, dust-free corners, and spotless floors and windows? Undoubtedly yes, but there are also some health benefits involved with housework – especially when you don’t pay somebody to do it for you.

For those of us who do housework regularly, the physical activity can bring forth some major advantages, even more so than hitting the gym every other week. So, stop giving that to-do list of yours a look of contempt, and smile! Because not only can vigorous housework (about an hour’s worth a day) reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, but your heart, cholesterol levels, and immune system will also benefit greatly.

Let’s see how to lower stress and boost some happiness.

Mowing the lawn makes you happy

A garden with maximum interest in a small space with lawn and paved areas flanked by lush borders.: modern  by Dewin Designs, Modern
Dewin Designs

A garden with maximum interest in a small space with lawn and paved areas flanked by lush borders.

Dewin Designs

To most people, a smell isn't just a fragrance — it’s a memory. Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional centre of our brain, which causes us to recall certain experiences with precise detail. So, unlike touch or taste, scents are directly linked with past memories. But apart from conjuring up some happy times you've enjoyed in the past, certain scents can also do amazing things for your mind and body. 

Enter fresh-cut grass, which can make you more joyful. You may think that mowing the lawn is an annoying chore, but Australian scent researchers have found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can enhance both your happiness—and relaxation levels.

And what’s more, that fresh aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older.

homify hint: That lush scent is so powerful that neuroscientists created a perfume and air fragrance that matches it, so now even the ‘lawnless’ people can reap its benefits.

Gardening prevents heart attacks

We could all do with a 30% less chance of cardiovascular problems, like strokes or heart attacks. And according to a Swedish study of 3,800 older adults, that is exactly what gardening, housecleaning, and DIY projects afford us. 

The study revealed that those who had a generally active daily life consisting of house- and yard work had a much lower risk profile for heart problems than those with low levels of daily activity. Even better when regular housework is combined with formal exercise routines. 

The range of benefits includes smaller waists, lower levels of potentially harmful cholesterol, and lower glucose, insulin and clotting factor levels in men. 

So, think about that the next time you dial up a gardener to come rake up your leaves or water your tulips.

Washing dishes reduces anxiety

Researchers at Florida State University discovered that doing the dishes (without your brand new dishwasher) can be used as an informal contemplative practice that eases the mind. 

When linked with an opportunity for practising mindfulness, a method of focusing attention on the emotions and thoughts of the present moment (usually linked to the practice of some type of meditation), washing dishes can be a good opportunity for relaxation. 

Focus on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature, touching the dishes, and seeing how the dirt disappears. This can lower your nervousness levels by 27%, the researchers discovered.  

Washing dishes at the end of a hectic day can be a terrific way of calming your nerves. The sheer monotony and physical nature of washing up, combined with the sense of achievement from completing a simple act, can do wonders for your mood.

Making your bed boosts productivity

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Arthur Tall Faux Leather Bed


Making our bed is usually one of the first tasks that go out the window when our parents are no longer nagging us to do so. But while leaving the house with an unmade bed each morning is probably the least of your worries, there is plenty of reason to suggest that those who do make their beds are happier and more productive.

First of all, it gives you a sense of accomplishment before you've even left the house. Boosting your pride factor just a tad, it will encourage you to do another task. And then another. And another…  

It also helps with the clutter and visual appeal of your room, as coming home to an untidy room after a hard day can definitely aggravate your frame of mind.

Lastly, the state of your bed is the state of your head. Since your bed is a personal and intimate place, it is also a symbol of you – which is why a neat bed will positively affect your mood. 

But your unmade bed reveals some other facts about you too… see: The Secrets That Your Home Tells

Clearing your kitchen helps you lose weight

Organising your kitchen – from the pantry and the countertops to the cupboards and the refrigerator – helps you get rid of the clutter. But it can also get rid of some excess weight. 

A recent study showed that people with super-cluttered homes were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese. The likely reason: It's harder to opt for healthy food choices in a chaotic kitchen. 

Small changes can make a dramatic difference. The key lies in keeping healthy foods out in the open and attractively displayed, while keeping indulgent snacks and treats out of sight. Put healthy snacks on your nearest refrigerator shelf in clear and pretty containers. Leave the less-healthy options in opaque containers on a pantry shelf that’s not at eye level. 

What an easy way to shed some weight without hitting the gym!

Growing flowers lowers depression

In a Norwegian study, people diagnosed with different forms of depression spent six hours a week gardening; after a few months, they experienced a notable improvement in their depression symptoms, and their good moods continued for months after the study ended. 

What does that teach us? That being busy with an activity outside in nature is good for us, but experts believe there is more to it. Christopher Lowry, PhD, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, injected mice with a common, harmless bacteria found in the soil. The results? The mice experienced an increase in the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood, much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.

And then we don’t even touch upon how seeing a colourful and striking garden can perk up your mood on a daily level. So, pick up that spade and start planting some flowers and veggies!

Are there any other housework chores you can think of to boost your health? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!
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