A recent study has shown that older people who diet but do not exercise lose more lean muscle than those who take part in exercise training.
The University of Pittsburgh study examined 64 obese or overweight people between the ages of 60 and 75, all of whom led a sedentary lifestyle.
The study found that those who were placed on a healthy diet and a gentle exercise programme lost more fat and less muscle than those on a diet or an exercise programme alone.
Senior researcher Bret Goodpaster commented: "The take-home message is that, even among older people and during a fairly short period of time, exercise produces metabolic changes that require the expenditure of fewer calories during physical activity.
"Exercise also allowed older people to more preferentially burn fat, which may be healthier metabolically."
Growing your own fruit and veg can help give gardeners both the benefits of gentle exercise and healthy eating.
This should ensure that older gardeners maintain their muscle mass while burning off fat.