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Spring Cleaning Brings a Shine to your Home and Benefits to your Health

Spring Cleaning Brings a Shine to your Home and Benefits to your Health

Spring Cleaning Brings a Shine to your Home and Benefits to your Health

The seasonal ritual known as spring cleaning is, admittedly, a tough sell. After all, devoting a day or more to doing heavy-duty housework hardly sounds inviting. That’s why ATRIO Health Plans is sweetening the spring-cleaning proposition by spreading the word that not only will your living space sparkle, but so too will your mental and physical health.

Studies have shown that a dirty, disorganized home can harbor health threats in the form of mold, bacteria, and clutter-caused injuries, but such an environment also can negatively impact mental health. Experts agree that a thorough spring cleaning brings with it a feel-good sense of satisfaction, and the physical exertion involved in dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing has been found to reduce stress and anxiety.

The Housework-Happiness Connection

While the physical benefits of exercise are well established, there's mounting evidence that exercise – even in the form of housework – delivers mental-health benefits. One London-based study, for example, found that doing a mere 20 minutes of housework per week reduced feelings of psychological distress. It was further found that the risk of developing mental-health issues was reduced by one-fifth among those engaging in just 20 minutes of housework weekly. Taking on a top-to-bottom spring cleaning creates a feeling of being in control, and that feeling results in reduced stress.

The Chores-Calories Connection

Doing housework not only lifts your spirits and lowers your stress level, but – as an added bonus – you also burn calories in the process. The American Heart Association categorizes housework as "moderate exercise," and a person weighing 150 pounds – who engages in 30 minutes of household chores – can expect to burn:

  • 200 calories cleaning a bathroom;
  • 133 calories doing laundry;
  • 130 calories making beds;
  • 125 calories washing windows;
  • 123 calories vacuuming;
  • 70 calories ironing;
  • 50 calories dusting.

Stay Tidy and Organized after Spring Cleaning

With the satisfaction of a successful spring cleaning behind you, experts caution against returning to one's messy/disorganized ways. Maintaining a tidy, organized home helps keep stress at bay. In fact, according to a recent University of California, Los Angeles study, simply looking at clutter elevated women’s stress hormones.

It makes sense. A cluttered environment – as a general rule – equals a tension-filled environment. Needed items can’t be found. The morning rush devolves into morning madness. Preparing dinner is similarly chaotic, and the odds of being able to relax amidst free-range dust bunnies are downright slim.

Conversely, a tidy, organized living space promotes creativity, optimism, and an overarching sense of calm. Not surprisingly, we simply tend to feel better when we’re living in a clean, uncluttered environment.