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House work keeps you bright and shining

A couple of weeks ago we were reading about the lady aged 105 in the USA setting a new world record for her speed over 100 metres – she plans to go faster. The story told us that she was forced into establishing a record for people 105+ because her previous record for 100+ had been bettered by someone else. It is the way of things with records, someone, sometime will go faster, jump higher or whatever – so be pleased with the moment. But the important message from the story was that there are many really old people spending time in athletic pursuits.

Not for me, and not for many I suspect, though fun-runs and weekly 5k events are popular in some local parks and other outdoor venues.

Our weekly health walks are much more modest affairs. Designed to encourage people who have lost confidence in walking, let alone running, we walk and talk for about an hour along local routes within and near the park. We cover less than two miles but it is enough and is followed by a cuppa, snack and more talk.

But I am greatly taken by the report from a study in Yishun, Singapore. This looked at the lifestyles of 249 residents aged between 20 and 64 and 240 who were 65 and older. Their focus was on housework and its association with physical health and mental health, including cognitive function. Some subject engaged in light housework, some in heavier housework, and some did none. Perhaps in both age groups a greater proportion of women engaged in housework. Amongst the younger people measures of performance did not differ between those doing housework and those doing none. It was in older people that differences were seen – those involved in housework scoring better on measures of attention and memory – and in speed of standing from a sitting position.

This is a cross-sectional study and it is possible, perhaps probable that we are seeing an association between activities and performance measures which have a common basis – super subjects chose to do housework – rather than that doing housework sharpens your mind and leg muscles. Yet it is tempting to suggest that this simple, humble, useful activity has benefits similar to athletic diversions.

One commentator recommended the attractions and benefits of Crown Green Bowling

There are modest, inexpensive ways of keeping fit – mentally, physically and spiritually which are inexpensive and lock you in to the life of the household and locality.

Reasons to be cheerful.

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