DIY for Heart Health

More and more people are jumping on the Do It Yourself bandwagon, and for several good reasons. Depending on where you’re applying your DIY interest, you could learn any number of new skills while saving yourself money. One of the most popular DIY past-times, especially with the rise in organic food’s popularity, is gardening. It turns out, according to a new study, that tackling these normal activities yourself could be even better for your health than you might have realized.


The Study

The research in question was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and took 12.5 years to complete in Stockholm, Sweden. Over the course of the study, 4000 volunteers all around 60 years old, were observed to see what sort of activities they busied themselves with and how these choices affected their health.

To start things off, the subjects were tested for cardiovascular health by looking at risk factors like BMI, blood fats, blood sugars, and blood clotting factors. Unsurprisingly people who had active lifestyles were rated as having a very low risk of heart disease. The same was true for people who had a routine of formal exercise, even if they weren’t necessarily active with chores. Even more unsurprising was the fact that people who both lived active lives and worked out had the lowest risk to worry about.

The study progressed by observing how the health of each subject changed over time and how that statistically related to their activity levels. The numbers showed a 27% lower risk of a heart attack or stroke and a 30% reduced risk of death from all causes in the most active participants.

What really stands our about this study, though, is the fact that regular exercise had no effect on those numbers. To clarify: people who were active in daily chores and exercised saw no more benefits than people who only took care of DIY tasks.


What It Means For You

So does that translate to a “Get Out Of Gym Free Card?” Probably not.

All this study proves is that, to be healthy, you don’t necessarily have to workout in the traditional sense. You can garden, or work on your car, or fix up your house or any other hobby that gets you up and moving.

These findings also give hope to those who find it difficult to achieve the desired intensity from their workouts, since the target audience of the study was people over 60. If you have a hard time keeping up at the gym because of health problems, then, you don’t have to feel bad as long as you find another way to stay moving.


Consider Your Goals

Like I said, though, this doesn’t mean everyone can stop hitting the gym. If you’re looking to bulk up on muscle or train for a marathon, tending to your tomatoes just isn’t going to give you the challenge you need.

If you simply want to keep your heart healthy, though, some DIY projects might be exactly what you need.




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About jonathan.thompson

Jonathan Thompson is a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach with the American Council on Exercise, specializing in nutrition. In addition to his real-world experience working with clients, his articles and blogs on fitness advice have been published on many websites and magazines.