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At this time of year most of us are reluctant to step out into the garden. Yet new research shows that keeping your garden in order could also be very important for your health. Researchers in Sweden have studied nearly 4,000 60-year-olds who didn’t regularly engage in typical exercise, but take part in physically demanding activities, including gardening.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on October 28th, followed healthy 60-year-olds from Stockholm for a period of 12 years. It found that the subjects who were regularly working in the garden, going out foraging for food such as berries and mushrooms, or taking part in DIY projects around the home, were 27 percent less likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes, while prolonging their lives by approximately 30 percent.

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