Gardening, Housework May Help Boost Your Heart Health

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that “non-exercise physical activity” may reduce “the risk of a heart attack or stroke by more than a quarter” in older individuals. Investigators “tracked the behavior and health of nearly 4,000 people 60 and older in Stockholm for about 12 1/2 years.”

The NPR “Shots” blog reports that the researchers found that those “who had been active but not “exercising” at age 60 had a 27 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke over that time, and a 30 percent lower risk of death.”

These individuals had been doing “things like mowing the lawn, housework, fix-it projects, gardening, bicycling, and…’gathering mushrooms or berries.’”

The researchers also found that “the most active” participants “had trimmer waists, and better HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose levels.”

As NPR concludes:

This study doesn’t prove that being active is what made these people healthier, of course. It could be they were more active because they were healthier to begin with and then stayed that way. But the researchers tried to account for that by excluding people who already had heart disease and other health problems.

But given other recent reports showing that being sedentary is pretty much a death sentence, mowing the lawn sounds less like a chore, and more a gift of life.

HealthDay and MedPage Today also cover the story.

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