People who are 60 or older can live longer, new research reports. They just have to get their hands dirty!
A British Medical Journal report found those who were 60 or over and gardened could extend their lives by 30%. The activity proved to be as good at preventing strokes and heart conditions as conventional exercise.
Improvements seen by study participants included "smaller waists, lower levels of potentially harmful blood fats, and lower glucose, insulin, and clotting factor levels in men," the release reports.
The team studied 4,000 people in Sweden who were 60 or older and tracked their heart health over a period of 12 years. Those who exercised regularly and also participated in daily physical activities like gardening had the lowest health risk in the group. Those who participated in the highest levels of activity were 27% less likely to have a heart attack and 30% less likely to die from any cause.
"Prolonged sitting drives down metabolic rate to the bare minimum, while standing up and physical activity increase it," the release says.
Unfortunately, traditional retirement notions don't support continued physical activity at this stage of life, says Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at NYU Langone medical Center in New York City.
"It is almost expected that as we age, we move less," she says. "Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles now range across all ages with the same unhealthy results: increased risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and certain cancers."
The human body is designed to be moving a good portion of the day, Samantha adds, so regular physical activities such as cleaning, gardening, lawn care and climbing stairs help keep the body mobile and strong.
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