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An acute bout of housework activities has beneficial effects on executive function

Authors Tsuchiya K, Mitsui S, Fukuyama R, Yamaya N, Fujita T, Shimoda K, Tozato F

Received 11 October 2017

Accepted for publication 17 November 2017

Published 22 December 2017 Volume 2018:14 Pages 61—72


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi

Kenji Tsuchiya,1 Shinichi Mitsui,1 Ryuji Fukuyama,2 Noriki Yamaya,3 Takaaki Fujita,4 Kaori Shimoda,1 Fusae Tozato1

1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Gunma University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Gunma, 2Department of Rehabilitation, Gunma Seishi Ryougoen, Gunma, 3Department of Health Sciences, Gunma University School of Medicine, Gunma, 4Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Tohoku Fukushi University, Miyagi, Japan

Purpose: Although acute bouts of exercise reportedly have beneficial effects on executive function, inactive people may find it difficult to start exercising. In this study, we focused on housework activities (HAs) that generate a sense of accomplishment and require a mild intensity of physical activity. We examined the impact of an acute bout of HA on executive function and oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) flow to related cortical regions.
Materials and methods: Twenty-five participants (age, 18–21 years; mean, 19.88±0.60 years; six males and 19 females) underwent two experiments, ie, HA and control experiments, which were conducted on different days. Participants vacuumed a dirty floor in the HA experiment and mimicked the same motion with an unplugged vacuum cleaner on a clean floor in the control experiment.
Results: Heart rate recorded during the experiments showed no significant difference in the intensity of physical activity between control and HA groups. A questionnaire revealed a sense of accomplishment after completing the HA experiment. Participants performed the Stroop color–word task (SCWT) pre- and post-experiments; cortical hemodynamic changes were simultaneously monitored using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Variation in Stroop interference scores for SCWT total response between pre- and post-experiments was significantly higher in the HA group than in the control group, and that for SCWT correct response showed a similar trend. Variation in the Stroop interference score for oxy-Hb flow to the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (R-VLPFC) showed the same trend.
Conclusion: Thus, HAs may have a greater beneficial effect on executive function than other physical activities through the activation of PFC, including R-VLPFC.

Keywords: cognitive function, near-infrared spectroscopy, cleaning, stroop interference, positive emotion, prefrontal cortex

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