It’s an ideal form of exercise because it combines three types of activity: flexibility, endurance and strength.

It keeps you slim. Gardening uses up on 300 calories an hour on average. Heavy digging uses up at least 600.

It improves coordination, strength and balance.

It makes you happy. Gardeners have been found to be more optimistic and cheerful about life than non-gardeners.

It lowers your risk of osteoporosis. We know that weight bearing exercise strengthens the bones. Well, gardening is just that. You have to lug watering cans around, heavy bags of compost, pull and push the lawn mower and wheel barrow, dig holes and, of course, pull up very stubborn weeds.

It decreases the risk of you developing diabetes. Busy gardeners get plenty of exercise which is proven to lower your risk of diabetes dramatically. Eating lots of vegetables, which gardeners are more likely to do than non-gardeners also decreases the chances of you developing the disease.

It helps you to sleep. We sleep better if we have plenty of physical exercise so gardening helps in that way but it also calms you down. If you suffer from stress and anxiety and so find it difficult to sleep, the calming effects of spending 30 minutes or an hour outside in your garden should calm you enough to improve the quality of your sleep too. The less stressed you are, the better you sleep.

It lowers your blood pressure for two very good reasons. Being fit and healthy leads to lower blood pressure as does doing an activity which reduces your stress levels.

It lowers the risk of you developing a number of different cancers. Gardeners seem to eat more vegetables than people who don’t garden and that lowers your risk of cancer.

It wards off the risk of you developing dementia in old age. A number of studies have shown that people who garden regularly whilst in their sixties and seventies are much less likely to develop alzheimers or dementia when they are in their 80s or even before.

So if you are not gardening regularly already, why not start? For maximum benefit, do the heavy stuff as often as you can. Rake your lawn regularly, dig and even use an old fashioned manual lawn mower if you can find one.

Try to do two or three gardening sessions each week, making each one at least 30 minutes long. They say that this will make you fitter than doing one long session at the weekend.

Happy gardening!

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