New York, March 16 : While strolling or running are beneficial for heart health, light physical activity, such as gardening and folding clothes, may also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in older women, say researchers.
The study showed that such activities might be enough to significantly reduce stroke or heart failure by up to 22 per cent and the risk of heart attack or coronary death by as much as 42 per cent.
The association was strong across all racial and ethnic groups, noted the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
"The higher the amount of activity, the lower the risk," said co-author Andrea LaCroix, Researcher at the University of California, San Diego.
"And the risk reduction showed regardless of the women's overall health status, functional ability or even age.
In other words, the association with light physical activity was apparent regardless of these other factors," LaCroix added.
For the study, researchers studied nearly 6,000 women aged 63 to 97.
They were made to wear a device which measured their movement 24 hours a day for seven consecutive days.
The device was also calibrated by age to distinguish between light, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Most people do not think of folding clothes or walking to the mailbox as physical activity of any kind, the researchers said.
"This study suggests that for older women, any and all movement counts towards better cardiovascular health," said David Goff, Director at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the US.