Spring cleaning’s surprising health benefits

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Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain, Family Medicine Associates of Texas

By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain

While it feels like winter has just barely begun, spring will be here before we know it.

With warmer weather, sunnier days and greener surroundings, spring is a time that naturally feels fresher than its cold and gloomy predecessor.

This freshness is ripe for opportunities to freshen up other areas of our lives, starting with our own homes. Enter: Spring Cleaning. To motivate yourself to de-clutter, it may help to know that spring cleaning has a surprising number of health benefits.

The first of these benefits is allergy reduction. De-cluttering means throwing out (or donating) items that you no longer need or want. Usually, these are the types of items that have been sitting on a shelf and collecting dust. In turn, this dust gets picked up and swirled about whenever you turn on a ceiling fan or open a window on a breezy day. Removing these items from your home also means removing this dust, which can help you gain an upper hand on Texas’s notorious allergy season.

You can get even further ahead of your allergies by taking the extra step of pest-proofing your home during spring cleaning. That means throwing out any expired uneaten food and making sure you keep food in a dry, easy-to-inspect area. If cleaning products themselves tend to bother your immune system, try using products with a low-VOC.

In addition to being an allergy reducer, spring cleaning is also an easy way to burn calories. While cleaning may not seem like a good workout, household chores like vacuuming, scrubbing the tub and wiping down windows for 30 minutes each can burn up to 435 calories. Depending on your pace and body type, that’s equivalent to running for 30 minutes!

Maybe you don’t have allergies, or you actually prefer running over chores. Spring cleaning also has mental health benefits that may go a long way to improve your overall state-of-mind. Studies have shown that cleaning can reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20 percent – especially if you use a fresh, lemony scent. When you are done cleaning, you have a de-cluttered, fresh-scented space that you can let your mind relax in, rather than think about all the things in your home that need a good scrub.

While we look at spring cleaning as a stressful activity, it’s proven that participating can benefit your health in an abundance of ways. This activity is proven to help you move physically and mentally toward a healthier lifestyle. So, let’s make 2020 a year of happiness and cleanliness one sweep at a time!

 

Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.

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