A e Swedish study of 4,232 people in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has suggested that activities including gardening cut the risks of heart attack and stroke.
Researchers at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm looked at the activity levels between older people who were sitting down and exercising - such as fixing the car, home repairs, cutting the lawn, blackberry picking or going hunting.
Being active reduced the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 27 per cent, and death from any cause by 30 per cent, during the 12-year study.
The report said: "A generally active daily life had important beneficial associations with cardiovascular health and longevity in older adults, which seemed to be regardless of regular exercise."
British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Christopher Allen said: "As long as they make you feel warmer, breathe harder and make your heart beat faster, activities such as DIY and gardening count towards the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity [weekly] activity recommended for a healthy lifestyle."