You have heard, time and time again, about how important it is to exercise every day, especially as the years pass. Still it’s hard to make it work in our super busy life, always on world. The good news is that research finds that everyday activities like mowing the lawn and doing other chores may add years of good health to your life.
When you’re active you improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure and help your metabolism and cholesterol levels as well as keeping your weight in the healthier range. You also cut the risk of diabetes and even some cancers. All good things.
To examine the benefits of being active upon lifespan, a team of Swedish researchers assessed the health of just about 4,000 subjects aged 60 years old back in the 1990s who did not have heart disease or other health issues. Twelve years later the team checked in with the subjects. Those who had been active but not “exercising” at age 60 had a 27% lower risk of heart attack or stroke over that period, a 30% lower risk of death. The most active had thinner waists, better HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar – all thought to be risk factors of both heart disease and diabetes.
Try mowing the lawn, doing housework, making home repairs, working in the garden or riding a bike. Older folks who do a lot to sustain themselves, children of the Great Depression who are self sufficient, tend to be in very good shape for their age. They might never have run a 5K, but these people are still fit and able. Other recent research in this area has found similar health benefits for being active around the house. Walking instead of driving is also another great option to try.
The Swedish team also examined those who were doing the moderate to vigorous activity that we’re all supposed to do to get themselves to those 150 minutes of exercise each week. Regular exercisers had better blood pressure readings than those not working out. In terms of heart health and risk of death, these exercisers didn’t get much benefit unless the exercise was of very high intensity.
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For A Longer Life: Mow The Lawn Continued…
Being sedentary is more common as people age, but recent news has shown clearly
that sitting is dangerous. Even if you’re getting the suggested amounts of exercise
each day, sitting for long periods is problematic. A recent study on sitting
found that those who sit more are far more likely to die. The specifics? Those
who sat over 23 hours a week had a 64% higher risk of dying due to heart disease
than those who spent less than 11 hours a week seated. If you’re sitting a lot,
your muscles aren’t contracting, metabolism slows and you have poorer cholesterol
numbers, blood sugar numbers, triglycerides and even the size of your waistline
can be bigger. All these up your risk of diabetes.
The study on activity and lifespan does not prove that being active has any impact on making people healthier. Maybe they were more active because they felt better and had more energy. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to argue with the many benefits of being as active as you can for as long as you can.
The work appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
To your good health,