Stay active and fit without exercise

Fitness isn't about sweating, straining and possibly hurting yourself. It's about staying active, vibrant and HAPPY.

Sex covers all three  -- especially that last one -- but since you can't "do it" all day, let me give you a few runner-ups that will also deliver the health benefits of exercise without the misery of the gym.

Start by taking care of business in and around the house. Get to work in the garden, get busy in the garage and make sure all the fix-it projects actually get fixed.

All that activity will keep you upright and out of the grave, with new numbers showing that these and other "active hobbies" can slash your risk of death by 30 percent.

That's the same benefit as exercise -- and all you have to do is all the things you've been putting off.

Along with that reduced risk of death, being active will also keep you out of the ambulance, cutting your risk of heart attack and stroke by 27 percent.

Gym exercise, on the other hand, can actually induce a heart attack or stroke.

Active hobbies will also help keep your waistline in check, your blood sugar under control and cut the risk of a clot, according to the study of more than 4,000 seniors tracked for an average of 12.5 years.

Of course, gardening and fix-it projects are just examples here. Anything that keeps you on your feet will do the trick -- whether it's dance lessons, a hike through the hills, golf, tennis or chasing the kids off your lawn.

Just make sure it's something you like, not something you hate. Staying healthy and alive is about having fun -- not making yourself miserable.