Even light physical activity may help your heart

Mounting evidence suggests that all movement — even low-effort activity — counts for preventing cardiovascular disease as people age.

When exercise experts talk about physical activity, they often focus on moderate and vigorous exercise — the types that get your heart pumping. But there's a growing appreciation that any type of activity that gets you up and off the couch also may benefit your heart.

One recent study found that doing light physical activity (preparing a meal or strolling through a park, for example) may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease among women in their early 60s and older (see "Low-intensity activity and heart disease risk"). The new study directly measured how much time people spent moving, using a device that tracked body movements and could assess light-intensity activity accurately, says study coauthor Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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