Doing household chores may not be as vigorous as doing cardio exercises at the gym, but a new study suggests it can help keep the brain young.
The findings provide another evidence that even seemingly small exercises can help in keeping Alzheimer's disease at bay.
Aging And Brain Volume
In a study published in the journal Jama Network Open on April 19, Nicole Spartarno, from Boston University, and colleagues looked at the three days' worth of activity tracker data from more than 2,300 adults.
The researchers also used the brain scans of these individuals to work out their brain volume, which can be linked to aging.
Spartarno explained that about 0.2 percent of the brain's volume is lost every year after age 60, and the loss or shrinkage of brain tissue is associated with dementia, which commonly affects older adults.
The researchers found that every extra hour of light physical activity per day was linked to 0.22 percent greater brain volume, which is equal to over a year's less brain aging.
Light Physical Activity Better Than None
According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, more than 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week offers the best health benefit, but any physical activity is better than none. Spartamo said their study shows the importance of doing light exercises.
"Our study results don't discount moderate or vigorous physical activity as being important for healthy aging. We are just adding to the science, suggesting that light-intensity physical activity might be important too, especially for the brain," he said.
The researcher added that light activities include a gentle walk or doing household chores.
Health experts said the findings are encouraging because light-intensity physical activities tend to be feasible for most middle-aged and older people, including those who are less likely to do structure exercise.
A study published in journal Neurology in January has similar findings. Researchers found that older people can protect their brain from dementia by doing housework.