One man and his shed: Why the humble garden retreat could help men live longer

It’s long been cherished by men as a refuge to get on with some DIY, tackle a crossword, or even just for some peace and quiet away from the family.┬áBut now it would seem the humble garden shed has an even more valuable role – it could actually help men live longer, according to a health expert.

The therapeutic effects of pottering around doing odd jobs relieves stress, which lowers blood pressure, and even boosts self-esteem.

Haven: For many men it’s a welcome retreat, but a health expert believes the garden shed could be a life-saver

Leeds Metropolitan University’s Alan White – the first professor of men’s health – believes the effects could add years to a man’s life. He told the Telegraph: ‘Men find doing things relaxing and that in itself is good for their health. ‘There’s a sense of achievement that men get from starting a task and seeing it through to completion. It’s good for self-esteem.’

Professor White’s research is due to be published in the British Medical Journal .

Health experts are so convinced of the benefits that ‘men’s shed’ groups have sprung up in the UK – a place where men can meet and get on with some DIY.┬áThere are already 20 such groups – focusing mainly on the retired – up and down the country.

Pottering about: Men find completing tasks relaxing, which is good for their health, it has been claimed

Professor White believes because men feel so at ease in sheds that they are more likely to listen to home truths about their health. The concept of the sheds scheme came from Australia and it is being backed in this country by the Men’s Health Forum, as well as other voluntary organisations.

Peter Baker, chief executive of the charity, told the Telegraph: ‘I think they’ve caught the men’s imagination. Men like to potter. These are from a generation who, on a Sunday afternoon, like to pull apart a car and put it back together with a Haynes manual. ‘It is hoped the scheme will offer a comfortable environment for men to talk about any health issues they might be having.

Blog provided by dailymail.co.uk 2011