Leisurely activities may improve heart health


Many people know that exercise and a diet rich in fruits and cruciferous vegetables can help improve their cardiovascular health, but they do not engage in physical activity because the thought of going to the gym or on a quick run seems overwhelming to them. Luckily for these individuals, a recent study has found that it doesn't take a lot of exercise to improve heart health. Rather, simple day-to-day activities can have a large positive impact on the body.

According to a recent study published in Circulation, which is a journal of the American Heart Association, engaging in leisure-time activities such as gardening, brisk walking, home maintenance and biking can enhance heart health.

You don't need to be a workout fiend

Researchers examined more than 4,200 individuals and questioned them regarding their physical activity levels. They found that these leisurely activities helped people achieve the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended two and a half hours of vigorous exercise that people are supposed to get each week.

"It's not just vigorous exercise and sports that are important," said Mark Hamer, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London. "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."

Furthermore, the scientists discovered that as study participants reached retirement age, their physical activity levels increased. This suggests that many individuals are using the extra time they have to exercise.

Simple exercises, big results

A heart friendly weight loss program doesn't have to involve multiple trips to the gym each week. In fact, there are many exercises that people can do within the comfort of their own homes – or even the office.

For example, Life Hack states that during practice, football players often tap their feet rapidly, to simulate running. This is something that people can do at their desk or while watching TV for a simple cardio routine.

Also, individuals should take the stairs whenever possible to give their legs an extra workout. For something a little more vigorous, take the stairs two at a time.

These simple activities and many other basic chores people do around the house may go a long way toward improving heart health.