More than eight in 10 adults have taken up a new hobby during lockdown to boost their mental or physical health, with walking, reading and exercising the most popular pastimes.
A study of 2,000 adults found more than a third have taken up a new activity since the start of the pandemic, with 81 per cent choosing one with some form of mindfulness to help keep them calm.
And 75 per cent want any hobby to involve some exercise.
It also emerged 82 per cent chose a hobby because it was good for their wellbeing, with gardening, cooking and baking also popular.
Growing fruit and vegetables were also among the top 40 hobbies people have chosen because they have a positive impact on their health.
Other factors which impact the choice of activity include the cost (55 per cent), how easy it is to get started (54 per cent) and skills which can be learnt as a result (37 per cent).
Sarah Dixon, from Hozelock which commissioned the study, said: “Many of us have had more time on our hands during the past 12 months, so it is only normal that we are filling this time trying out new hobbies and interests.
“With so much uncertainty in the year, it is great to see that people are choosing activities which will improve their mental health and provide some structure to their day and weekends.
“Gardening is one such hobby, not only is it accessible for everyone but it is always incredibly rewarding to watch plants grow.”
The study also found 77 per cent agreed it’s been important to keep their mind busy since spending more time at home in the past year.
And 74 per cent felt hobbies have given them something to concentrate on, while 63 per cent credited the activities with helping them to stick to a routine while at home.
It also emerged that during the average week, people typically spend two hours and 14
minutes on exercise-based activities, an hour and 13 minutes baking and 1 hour and 28 minutes gardening.
Emily Butt, Founder of the not-for-profit organisation Garden to Wellbeing said: “Having experienced first-hand the range of benefits that nature has on both our physical and mental wellbeing, I’m delighted that more people are enjoying gardening as a fun and therapeutic hobby.
“Gardening not only improves physical health, it can also reduce levels of stress and anxiety and increase confidence.
“With ongoing support from organisations such as Hozelock, including generous product donations, Garden to Wellbeing helps connect people with nature through workshops and ongoing programmes, giving everyone the opportunity to benefit from gardening.”
Top hobbies Brits have started because they’re good for their health:
9. Jigsaw puzzles
10. Growing fruit & veg
11. Dog walking
13. Board games
14. Video gaming
18. Colouring in
26. Cross stitching
27. Learning a musical instrument
31. Horse riding
33. Martial arts
34. Writing music
35. Graphic design
36. Home brewing drinks
37. Astronomy e.g. using a telescope