Cleaning is undoubtedly one of the most annoying chores on our to-do list, but a new study shows that it might just be worth that extra effort. An online issue of Neurology revealed that physical activity—including something as mundane as cleaning or washing the dishes—can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Although this doesn’t mean you’re in the clear entirely, cleaning your home on a regular basis can lessen your chances of getting it, even in people over the age of 80.
This isn’t the only health perk of cleaning. Busting out that vacuum cleaner can also help you drop those extra pounds or make that stress melt away. With all these health benefits, why wouldn’t you want to clean every week (or even every day)?
It Burns Calories
Although it might not seem like too much of a workout, cleaning is one of many unlikely calorie melters. You can burn an average of 205 calories an hour during a cleaning frenzy—even more if you’re really moving (think cleaning out the gutters). Check out the top calorie-burning chores to make sure you maximize your “workout” potential.
It Reduces Stress
We all love the feeling of a clean, clutter-free home, and that finished product, as well as the process itself, can reduce anxiety levels. In 2008, an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that twenty minutes of activity—including housework—cuts anxiety and stress by as much as 20 percent. After all, if you know where to find your car keys, for instance, you can completely bypass that frantic and stressful search right before work.
It Helps Your Allergies
Your daily sneeze attacks might become a thing of the past. By purging your home of those dust mites, you can improve or avoid allergies and hay fever entirely. Frequently vacuuming, washing your sheets and curtains, cleaning out your sink and refrigerator, and thoroughly dusting your furniture are among the best ways to control your allergies. Your annual spring clean is the perfect time to really reach those nooks and crannies that you rarely get to otherwise. Taking time now will save you headaches (and itchy, red eyes) later.
It Improves Concentration
While our ability to multitask is now better than ever, a cluttered, messy house can sidetrack even the most focused among us. Without endless stacks of papers, piled up laundry, and an overflowing junk drawer, studies show you will be better able to concentrate on the task at hand. Having a clean work space also allows you to better prioritize, because you are able to see what’s important without being bogged down by all the clutter surrounding you. With a little cleaning, you will be able to accomplish more in less time, and will quickly feel more optimistic and in control of your surroundings. Talk about multitasking!
It Gives You an Anger Outlet
We all need to vent sometimes, but instead of snapping at your significant other, take it out on the dust mites. Cleaning is a productive way to release anger and frustration, which is why some people reach for a vacuum after a long day at work or a heated argument. Dealing with your anger in this way prevents you from saying or doing things you shouldn’t—it’s a relationship lifesaver.