Washington: DIY or gardening can decrease the heart attack/stroke risk and prolong life by as much as 30 percent among the 60+ age group, a new research has revealed.
According to the researchers, these routine activities are as good as exercise, which is ideal for older people who don't often do that much formal exercise.
The findings are based on almost 4000 sixty year olds in Stockholm, Sweden, whose cardiovascular health was tracked for around 12.5 years.
At the start of the study, participants took part in a health check, which included information on lifestyle, such as diet, smoking, and alcohol intake, and how physically active they were.
Their cardiovascular health was assessed by means of lab tests and physical examinations, to check on blood fats, blood sugars, and blood clotting factor, high levels of which are linked to a raised heart attack and stroke risk.
At the start of the study, those who had a generally active daily life had a much lower risk profile for cardiovascular problems, irrespective of how much formal exercise they took, than those with low levels of daily activity.
This profile included smaller waists, lower levels of potentially harmful blood fats, and lower glucose, insulin, and clotting factor levels in men.
The same was true of those who did a lot of formal exercise, but who weren't routinely physically active very often. Those who exercised regularly and were also often physically active had the lowest risk profile of all.
During the 12.5 year monitoring period, 476 of the participants had their first heart attack and 383 died from various causes.
The highest level of daily physical activity was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of a heart attack or stroke and a 30 percent reduced risk of death from all causes, compared with the lowest level, irrespective of how much regular formal exercise was taken in addition.
The study has been published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.