Gardening ‘reduces risk of health problems’

Retirees should take steps to keep active as this can reduce the risk of long-term health problems and ensure they enjoy a higher quality of life, according to a new piece of research from University College London.

After examining 3,500 men and women over the age of 65, Dr Mark Hamer came to the conclusion it is never too late to enjoy a physically active lifestyle, reports the Daily Mail.

What's more, this doesn't mean joining a gym and enduring pumping dance beats and sweaty teenagers – walking, washing the car and gardening are all considered potentially helpful for older people.

The doctor studied his test subjects over eight years and compared detailed information about their health and how often they exercised, finding those who did more exercise were up to two-and-a-half times healthier. His results have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

"Anything is better than nothing and there are clear benefits from exercising even just once a week. If you are thinking about starting to be active pick something you enjoy and if possible do it with a friend as you are far more likely to keep it up," he declared.

Dr Hamer pinpointed gardening as a useful activity for people wishing to become more active, as it offers exercise that is both convenient and free as well as being something many older homeowners enjoy.

This isn't the first report to highlight the potential health benefits of pottering around the garden.

Researchers from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm recently published a report in the same journal suggesting the risk of heart attacks and strokes fell in over-65s who enjoyed spending time mowing their lawn and watering their plants.

Dr Tim Chico, honorary consultant cardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, told BBC News: "If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, be more active. Don't sit down for long periods; get up on your feet and do something you enjoy that involves moving around."


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