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Add some pep to daily-life activities to boost heart health, researchers say

Photo: mgstudyo/iStockphoto

Here’s an incentive to take the stairs or speed up that next floor-sweeping session: Incidental activities like these could help lower your risk for heart disease.

That’s according to researchers at the University of Sydney, who found that short bursts of activity associated with daily life could reduce risk for heart attack, stroke and premature death.

The researchers examined wrist-worn tracker data from more than 25,000 participants in the UK Biobank research database. The participants were followed for almost eight years. Results show that any physical activity was beneficial, but engaging in activity bursts of moderate intensity for at least one to three minutes was linked to greater heart benefits than bouts of less than one minute. 

“The take-home message here is any type of activity is good for your health, but the more effort you put into those daily tasks and the longer you keep up that energy, the more benefits you are likely to reap,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, lead study author and professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the university. “If you are huffing and puffing and unable to hold a conversation for some of that time, you have hit the sweet spot.”

The study was published online in the journal The Lancet Public Health.

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