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Washing up, cooking and gardening ‘enough to slash heart disease risk’

Researchers at the University of California San Diego studied the impact of daily activities on the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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A new study has found light housework can cut the risk of heart disease (Alamy/PA)

A new study has found light housework can cut the risk of heart disease (Alamy/PA)

A new study has found light housework can cut the risk of heart disease (Alamy/PA)

Just being “up and about” doing the washing up, cooking and gardening is enough to slash the risk of heart disease and prevent an early death, according to a new study.

Experts found that being on your feet doing daily activities could have a dramatic effect on improving heart health, and even things like taking a shower count.

Compared with women doing less than two hours of daily movement, those doing at least four hours had a 43% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 43% lower risk of coronary heart disease, 30% lower risk of stroke, and a 62% lower chance of dying from heart disease.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (Jama), included data on the activity levels of 5,416 American women aged 63 to 97 who did not have heart disease at the start of the study.

University of California San Diego researchers studied the impact of daily life movement on the risk of cardiovascular disease, including those activities occurring when standing and walking, such as getting dressed, washing up, self-care, housework, preparing meals and gardening.

The study demonstrates that all movement counts towards disease preventionDr Steve Nguyen

Lead author on the paper Dr Steve Nguyen said: “The study demonstrates that all movement counts towards disease prevention.

“Spending more time in daily life movement, which includes a wide range of activities we all do while on our feet and out of our chairs, resulted in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.”

In the new study, experts looked at how people spent their waking time, including sitting, sitting in a vehicle, standing still, daily life movement, and walking or running.

Participants wore a research-grade accelerometer for up to seven days to get accurate measures of how much time they spent moving.

During the course of the study, 616 women were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, 268 with coronary heart disease, 253 had a stroke, and 331 died of cardiovascular disease.

But the researchers found that those women who were generally up and about and active, including doing mundane activities, had lower risks.

Understanding the benefits of daily life movement and adding this to physical activity guidelines may encourage more movementDr Andrea LaCroix

Researcher Dr Andrea LaCroix said: “Much of the movement engaged in by older adults is associated with daily life tasks, but it may not be considered physical activity.

“Understanding the benefits of daily life movement and adding this to physical activity guidelines may encourage more movement.”

It comes after a separate study published earlier this month found that people can ward off severe heart disease by performing at least 20 minutes of exercise a day in later life.

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