Tags: leisure | activity | health

Even Leisure-time Activities Boost Health

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:59 AM

Feeling guilty about not hitting the gym? Take heart. Engaging in regular leisure-time physical activity in your everyday life – taking a brisk walk, gardening, cycling, playing sports, doing housework and even routine home maintenance – can significantly boost your heart health, a new study shows.
Researchers at University College in London found middle-aged adults who actively engaged in such leisure activities for more than a decade improved their cardiovascular health about as much as regular exercise buffs.
The findings, published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, are the latest to support the idea that living an active life is one of the best ways for people to boost longevity and their overall quality of your life.
"It's not just vigorous exercise and sports that are important," said lead researcher Mark Hamer, associate professor of epidemiology and public health at University College. "These leisure-time activities represent moderate intensity exercise that is important to health. It is especially important for older people to be physically active because it contributes to successful aging."
For the new study, the U.K. researchers tracked the activity levels of more than 4,200 British study participants (average age 49) – including the duration and frequency of their leisure-time physical activities – over an 11-year period. They also assessed the study participants for key biological markers of inflammation associated with heart disease and health risks.
"Inflammatory markers are important because we have shown they are a key mechanism explaining the link between physical activity and the lower risk of heart disease." Hamer said. "The people who benefited the most from this study were the ones that remained physically active."
Overall, about half of the participants met the standard physical activity recommendations for cardiovascular health (2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity). Those who changed from inactive to active exercisers achieved lower inflammatory markers at follow-up.

© HealthDay

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Study: Routine physical activities – brisk walking or even housework – can significantly boost your heart health.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:59 AM
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