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It’s been dubbed Quitters' Day, the day in mid to late January when people abandon their new year’s resolutions.

Resolutions like getting fit by going to the gym, taking up running, cycling or speed walking. If that’s you, don’t beat yourself up. Where does that get you?

Maybe consider using your garden as a route to better health instead. You don’t need any fancy kit or expensive tech to get the benefits.

And the benefits are considerable. If you want to shift calories, an hour of digging or raking will do the trick and most gardening activities are good for strengthening limbs and muscles.

The sheer variety of tasks in a garden means there’ll be plenty of ways to improve your mobility, balance and dexterity.

And when the sun eventually pops out, it’ll top up your vitamin D levels and help lower your blood pressure, while growing your own fruit and veg is a sure-fire way to improve your diet.

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Getting out more into green spaces has been linked to long-term reductions in health problems such as heart disease, cancer and musculoskeletal conditions.

If giving up on a new year’s resolution has left you feeling low, gardening can improve your mood and reduce the severity of stress and depression.

And don’t think you’ll have to spend loads of time outdoors to feel better. Researchers at Exeter University found that people who spend at least two hours in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don’t visit nature at all during an average week.

Not having your own garden doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Community garden schemes, allotments, helping a neighbour, even having a few pots on a windowsill are ways to get involved.

Thrive has lots of practical advice to help make gardening easier too – find out more here.

Happy new gardening year!

Why gardening is good for your body

If you consider gardening to be a sedate activity that won’t help your health and fitness very much, there are plenty of good reasons to think again – it could add years to your life.

Find out more