Gardening and simple tasks around the house can lead to a longer life, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences found that adults over the age of 60 who engaged in tasks such as gardening, home maintenance or automotive repair have better overall cardiovascular health.
According to the study’s lead investigator, Elin Ekblom-Bak, the key to developing and maintaining good heart health is staying on your feet and avoiding sitting as much as possible.
“Sitting is mainly replacing time you spend in daily activity and vice versa,” Ekblom-Bak said in a press release. “The results of this study showed that activities of daily life are as important as regular intentional exercise for older adults for cardiovascular health and longevity.”
In the analysis, 3,800 men and women born in 1937 or 1938 were asked about their lifestyle, which included information about their diet and how physically active they were. The researchers also took blood samples to measure sugar and fat levels. Over the course of the 12-year trial, 476 participants either died from or experienced a heart attack or stoke. Those in the group who said that they moved regularly reduced their risk of being affected by these conditions by 30 percent.
Ekblom-Bak also noted in the press release that physicians should encourage their older patients to engage in these basic tasks, especially if they are no longer able to engage in vigorous exercise.
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