- 50 to 64-year-old men who do regular DIY are less likely to die young
- Taking part in sports, such as jogging and cycling, reduces a woman’s chance of dying young by 25%, and a man’s by 22%
- That people take part in any physical activity is more important than that they spend hours at it
It may not be what men want to hear as they contemplate putting their feet up at the weekend.
But new research shows undertaking do-it-yourself jobs round the house could be the secret to living longer.
A study by Danish scientists showed men who broke into a sweat by regularly doing DIY were much less likely to die prematurely than those who sat round the house taking it easy.
Among men aged between 50 and 64, DIY was associated with a 23 per cent decline in risk of death from all causes, according to a report in the medical journal Epidemiology.
Britain’s couch potato lifestyle is thought to be storing up an epidemic of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Research out earlier this week showed just 30 minutes of exercise a day could slash high blood pressure – a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes – by a fifth.
In the UK, people are advised to do 150 minutes of moderate activity such as gardening, dancing or brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise including playing sport, running or aerobics every week.
Three out of four Britons fail to achieve this.
In the latest study, scientists at the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen looked at nearly 60,000 middle-aged men and women to see how physical activity affected lifespan.
The volunteers were taking part in a long-term study which recorded their exercise patterns.
The results showed that taking part in sports, such as jogging, cut the risk of dying for women by 25 per cent and for men by 22 per cent.
Cycling had similar benefits while gardening also promoted a longer lifespan- especially in men.
But the study also tracked DIY activity levels in men and found it had a powerful protective effect against premature death.
The researchers said taking part in some kind of physical activity was more important than spending hours at it.
Their findings did not show those spending more time exercising or doing DIY lived any longer.
They said: ‘This could suggest that avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is more important than a high volume of activity.