Golf, gardening and housework ..

figure_sweeping_800_10765said to reduce risk of serious diseases. Really?

Gardening – risk of tetanus, nettle rash, slug pellet poisoning, not to mention muscle strain from digging.

Housework – falling off ladders, scolding yourself, dangerous cleaning chemicals, electric shocks, and dust mites.

Golf – getting drunk at 19th hole, boredom if you don’t play, being hit by a stray ball, being hit by lightening..

Need I say more?

So why do experts think these things are good for your health?

Basically it’s the exercise involved. They say we should be doing five times the WHO recommended minimum.

Playing an extra round of golf or gardening for a few more hours each week can help prevent five of the most common chronic diseases.

The research is based on 174 studies published since 1980 and the analysis found that increasing a person’s exercise level from 600 minutes a week to 3,000 -4,000 a week reduced the risk of heart disease by 16% and colon cancer by 10%.

This is the equivalent of climbing the stairs for 10 minutes, vacuuming for 15 minutes, running for 20 minutes or walking for 25 minutes – five days a week.

This level of activity also reduces the risk of diabetes by 14% and stroke by 16%. If you doubled the exercise levels you could reduce risks by a further 7-10%.

What is clear is that in terms of protecting oneself from the development of of these five common and potentially life-limiting illnesses, undertaking any level of exercise is protective, more is better, and should be encouraged by healthcare professionals, politicians, and charities alike, to decrease the burden of these debilitating illnesses in society today” said Oliver Monfredi, clinical lecturer in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Manchester.

And researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyons said that this study “represents an advance in the handling of disparate detainee a lifestyle factor that has considerable importance for the prevention of chronic diseases“.

What they’re not sure about is whether risk reduction is different when you exercise in short intensive bursts or do light physical activity for longer.

OK, I take it back about the gardening and the housework – but not the golf!

An earlier post on exercise

Gentle exercise helps you live longer

figure_sweeping_800_10765Scientists have shown that any exercise is better than none. A few minutes of exercise rigorous enough to allow you to talk but not sing could help you live longer by reducing your risk of heart disease or stroke..

Even if you don’t do the recommended daily target of 20 minutes exercise you could still have a 22% lower death rate compared to 28% for those who did hit the target.

At present two-thirds of over-60s don’t manage 20 minutes a day and some take no regular exercise at all.

The results are based on an analysis of more than 800 studies involving more than 120,000 people aged over 60. The researchers, at the Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Étienne, were interested in examining moderate exercise that could be more easily built into daily life for the elderly such as fast walking, gardening and cycling. You could also avoid using lifts and go for a swim.

The researchers hoped to encourage more people to try to exercise, however little they could manage. “These findings may help convince currently inactive older adults that a lower dose of moderate exercise than currently recommended has health benefits”

Previous research has shown that even a minute of high-intensity exercise in the middle of a 10-minute workout could have impressive effects on health if done three times a week.

There is a gender difference in the results of exercise. Men who did some exercise reduced their mortality risk by 14% but for women it was 32%. This startling difference might be due to underreporting by women and over reporting by men however.