Stroke survivors who engaged in frequent, light activity reported fewer physical limitations than their more sedentary counterparts, a new study finds.

Using accelerometers, investigators measured daily physical activity in 30 study participants for a week. They found that those who were regularly active, taking leisurely walks or performing housekeeping and gardening tasks for example, reported better overall functioning.

The survivors logged only about seven minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity each day on average. This activity rate was linked to better performance on objective physical function measures. Light activity by contrast accounted for about three hours of participants’ days. The more time spent on physical action where one “didn’t break a sweat,” the greater the participant’s self-reported ability to perform daily tasks, reported Professor Neha Gothe, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The findings suggest that staying engaged in low-stress routines throughout the day can contribute to better physical functioning in stroke survivors and others with chronic conditions, Gothe said. “This aligns with the latest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that emphasize the need to move more and sit less,” she concluded.

The article was published in The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.