Harvard Heart Letter

Putting activity in your day

Daily activities like gardening or taking the stairs are good for your heart, lengthen life, and keep you mobile.

Few of us take advantage of the closest thing we have to a magic bullet "" exercise "" for preventing or controlling heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and a host of other physical woes.

If you can't stand the thought of toiling hamster-like on a treadmill, walking purposefully around a mall, or doing other forms of formal exercise, take heart: Daily activity matters, too. So walk the dog. Mop the floor. Take the stairs. Garden. Go dancing. A quartet of studies published in 2006 support the idea that doing whatever you can to burn more calories each day can help you live longer with less pain and a healthier heart and blood vessels.

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