Housework can be healthy for you! It all counts towards your daily dose of activity.  Not only are you burning calories and getting your heart pumping, but the variety of actions puts your joints through a good range of movements.  Even if you suffer with osteoarthritis, the housework can be a great addition to keeping those joints mobile.  Just think of the benefits your shoulders get from a good circling while you do the dusting or clean the windows!

Minimise the strain

There’s no doubt, however, that sometimes doing the chores leaves you with the aches afterwards.  It’s worth thinking about how you approach your tasks, to minimise the strain and maximise the gain.  Here are a few tips.

·        Break it up into bitesize chunks.  Don’t allocate all the cleaning to one day – it’s too much. Spread the work throughout the week so you can manage a few tasks at once.

·        If you live in a multiple-storey house, try and keep a set of cleaning things on each floor to avoid carrying weight up and down the stairs. 

·        Choose your tools well.  There’s a huge variety of mops, steam cleaners and vacuums available – look for ones that are lightweight and easily manoeuvrable. Bear in mind that even smaller units can feel heavy to push around if the wheels are small – give them a test in the shop before you buy.

·        Making the bed can be particularly troublesome because you have to bend and lift at the same time to get under the mattress.  Consider buying a mattress topper and covering only that with a fitted sheet, rather than the whole mattress.  Use lightweight bedding where possible – a light duvet or a bedspread.  If you need to tuck bedding under the mattress, try using a flat wooden pizza paddle to help slide the sheets in.  Instead of stooping to tuck the bedding, use a low stool and sit on it as you work.

·        If painful joints in your hands make it hard to grip a duster or cleaning cloth, get some microfiber duster gloves that you can just slip on.

Of course, osteopathy is an effective treatment for aches and pains associated with overuse or arthritis.  Osteopaths use a variety of massage techniques, gentle joint mobilisation, and manipulations to improve mobility and ease strains.  So if you have overdone the housework, don’t suffer, give us a call today!



The Independent – “Housework can be as good for your health as the gym, claims study”

Institute of Osteopathy – Arthritis