Harvard Heart Letter

Research we are watching: Tend your garden and home .. and your heart?

Research we're watching

Tend your garden and home —and your heart?

Photo: Thinkstock

Puttering around doing projects in your home or garden may lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke by nearly 30%, according to study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

For the study, Swedish researchers queried nearly 4,000 60-year-old men and women about how often they did a range of daily activities, such as gardening and do-it-yourself projects, as well as how much formal exercise they'd done over the past year. Participants also underwent physical exams and blood tests to assess their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

At the start of the study, people who were more active in their daily lives had better cardiovascular risk profiles than those who were less active. And at the 12.5-year follow-up, researchers observed a 27% lower risk of a heart attack or stroke and a 30% lower risk of death from all causes among the people with the highest levels of activity, regardless of how much regular formal exercise they did.

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