Casual gardening and gentle DIY around the house could lead to a longer life in people over the age of 60, according to a new report.
Gardening is an easy way to get outdoors and exercise
A Swedish study believes that some form of activity compared to a sedentary lifestyle on the sofa is the key to a longer life, especially for older people who may struggle to exercise vigorously.
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and compared the physical lifestyles and health risks of 4,232 people.
The report concluded that regular gentle activity was enough to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Researchers at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm said that elderly people find it harder to exercise and are more sedentary than any other age group.
During the 12-year study, they found that being active reduced the risk of heart or stroke by 27% and death from any cause by 30%.
The study focused on the health benefits of less strenuous activities such as home repairs, gardening, blackberry picking or cutting the lawn and compared these against sitting down.
The report concluded that people who were more active on a daily basis were the least likely to suffer a heart attack. Even those who did light activity had a lower risk of heart attack than those who did nothing.
Scientists have suggested that leading a sedentary lifestyle may lower a person’s metabolism or a lack of activity could alter hormones produced in muscle tissue.
Dr Tim Chico, a cardiologist from at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: "Although this study only examined people aged 60, it is reasonable to assume that the more active someone is throughout their life, the lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.
"The message I take from this study is simple. If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, be more active. Don't sit down for long periods; get up on your feet and do something you enjoy that involves moving around."
Health insurance companies can provide policies designed for over-50s and some can offer wellness initiatives and rewards to keep you fit and healthy.
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