The survey was put together using 4,000 people in the “midlife” age bracket, and it showed that even those who counted gardening or a brisk walk towards their required two and a half hours exercise every week saw improvements in heart health.
Even those in the ten year study who only started regular exercise in their 40s saw signs of improvement.
It was published in medical journal Circulation, going into more specific detail. The research showed that those claiming the recommended exercise had fewer inflammatory markers in their blood, a factor linked to the increased risk of heart diease.
Dr Mark Hamer of University College London led the research and he said, "We should be encouraging more people to get active - for example, walking instead of taking the bus. You can gain health benefits from moderate activity at any time in your life."
At present, the government’s guidelines on exercise suggest that under-fives should be getting around three hours of exercise a day, five-to-18-year-olds at least an hour of strenuous activity per day, while those above, including that “midlife” bracket and the over 65, are looking at around 150 minutes a week.
The British Heart Foundation have praised the report, but more work is needed since the study relied on people to keep their own exercise records, and it looked at markers linked to heart problems and not heart disease itself.