This is How a To-Do List Can Help You Live Longer

This is How a To-Do List Can Help You Live Longer

If you’re disgruntled about your daily chores, which may include washing dishes, mowing the lawn, and making the bed, you should really be grateful.

Everyday tasks like these have surprising health benefits – seriously, just take a look at these findings.

And if that doesn’t convince you, there’s even more evidence that suggests crossing off things from your to-do list adds years to your life, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine followed the activity levels of 6,000 women between the ages of 65 and 99 for five years. They equipped the participants with devices that tracked the movement of their hips, while they went about their daily routines.

Evidence suggests crossing things from your to-do list adds years of life.

Related: Why Do People Want to Live So Long?

Women that averaged just 30 minutes of light physical activity – which includes household duties like mentioned above – every day saw their risk of dying drop by 12%. Women who got roughly an hour of moderate activity, say brisk walking or opting for the stairs over the elevator, lowered their mortality even more – three times as much, or an amazing 39%.

“Every movement counts,” Andrea LaCroix, PhD, senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego told

“A lot of what we do on a daily basis is improving our health, such as walking to the mailbox, strolling around the neighborhood, folding clothes and straightening up the house. Activities like these account for more than 55 percent of how older individuals get their daily activity.”

What we’re trying to say here is, there’s really no excuse you shouldn’t be benefiting from exercise – you clearly don’t need to train for a triathlon to be healthy. Like we said, even those boring chores have health value, even if you don’t appreciate a cleaner house or a neater lawn.


“With the increasing baby boomer population in the United States, it is imperative that future health guidelines recommend light physical activity in addition to more strenuous activity,” said Dr. LaCroix. “When we get up from the couch and chair and move around, we are making good choices and contributing to our health.

“Improving levels of physical activity both light and moderate could be almost as effective as rigorous regular exercise at preventing a major chronic disease,” Dr. LaCroix adds.

“We don’t have to be running marathons to stay healthy. The paradigm needs to shift when we think about being active.

The study also found the benefits extended to all subgroups in the study, regardless of racial/ethnic backgrounds, weight, etc.

“Older people expend more energy doing the same kinds of activities they did when younger, so their daily movement has to accommodate for this,” said LaCroix.

“Our study shows, for the first time using device- measured light physical activity in older women, that there are health benefits at activity levels below the guideline recommendations.”

Photo Credit: Julia Sudnitskaya/; conejota/;

Facebook Comments