How many calories does gardening burn per hour?

Image courtesy of Flickr user <a href=””>ezioman</a>

Last weekend, when I finally ventured into my backyard garden after a long El Niño winter of rain, I knew it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight. But I was not prepared for just how bad things had gotten. A few years back, Alan Weisman wrote a great book called The World Without Us, about what might happen to the planet if humanity suddenly vanished. He could have used my backyard as a visual. “Messy” would be a major understatement: Rosemary forest. Compost pile taken over by spindly weeds. Waist-high grasses, grown so thick I couldn’t even see the edges of the vegetable bed. Cat poop everywhere.

So I have my work cut out for me. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, considering the long winter has meant I’ve done a lot of sitting around, and all that weeding will be a good workout. Just ask gardening exercise guru Jeffrey Restuccio, who has written two books on the fitness advantages of yardwork. “To me the greatest benefit of eating organic food is not the food itself,” says Restuccio. “It’s the exercise that you get growing that food.” He’s also developed a series of moves that maximize the fitness benefits of gardening. (The lunge-and-weed looks especially awesome.)

With the help of the University of South Carolina School of Public Health’s Compendium of Physical Activities, Restuccio estimated the amount of calories burned during half an hour of common gardening activities. Unsurprisingly, turns out that in general, activities that require less power from the grid are also a much better workout. For example:


Ride-on mower: 101 calories
Push mower with motor: 182 calories
Push mower: 243 calories


Power shears: 142 calories
Manual shears: 182 calories

Weeding is also pretty good exercise, at 182 calories burned in a half hour. Restuccio doesn’t calculate how many calories you’d burn applying a chemical weed killer, but I’m guessing it’s pretty similar to watering, which burns only 61 calories. (One exception to the greener gardening=better exercise rule: “gardening with heavy power tools,” which burns a whopping 243 calories, presumably because the tools are, well, heavy.)

Full list of 18 gardening activities and calories burned:

Watering lawn: 61

Mowing lawn (ride-on): 101

Trimming shrubs (power): 142

Raking: 162

Bagging leaves: 162

Planting seedlings: 182

Mowing (push with motor): 182

Planting trees: 182

Snow thrower (walking): 182

Trimming shrubs (manual): 182

Weeding: 182

Clearing land: 202

Digging, spading, tilling: 202

Laying sod: 202

Chopping wood: 202

Gardening with heavy power tools: 243

Mowing lawn (push manual): 243

Double digging: 344

For more on gardening for exercise, visit :


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After a busy day in the garden, it’s easy to feel like you’ve just spent hours at the gym. But is gardening exercise? Can I really count time gardening as equal to getting a workout at the gym?

I am arguing yes.


Gardening definitely has a place in your fitness routine.

With all the physical activity involved, there have to be a lot of calories burned by gardening. But how many? And what are some ways to get a garden workout so we can skip the gym?

Calories Burned By Gardening As Exercise

Let’s take a look at just how each of the following activities contributes to getting a good workout in the garden.

Calories burned in the garden definitely count toward your fitness goals.

Raking leaves sculpts your arms and back

Did you know that raking leaves burns about 220 calories per hour? That’s not a ton of calories, but it does a lot to define muscles in your arms and back.

Plus building a pile of leaves is just as good for your garden as it is for your body. Leave the pile to decompose over a few months or add them to your compost pile. By spring, you’ll have healthy (and free!) mulch for your garden beds.

Shoveling builds muscle in arms and shoulders

Digging holes with a shovel can burn over 500 calories per hour! If you’ve ever had the pleasure of shoveling dirt, then I’m sure you’re not surprised.

Shoveling holes for new plantings or burying posts for a fence can be really hard work, but at least you get the pleasure of a prettier garden and knowing you you’ve gotten in a good gardening workout that day.

Pulling weeds is a whole body workout

You may not realize it, but squatting and bending to pull weeds burns about 230 calories per hour. Plus you’re getting a good workout in your legs and back. Grabbing and pulling weeds can improve your grip and tone your arms.

Even if you’re using standing weeding tools, you can still work up a good sweat getting rid of weeds in your garden.

Harvesting your produce helps you get in shape

When you have a bumper crop of produce, gathering all your veggies is quite the workout. Between bending over to pick them and carrying a basket loaded with veggies, you’re working lots of muscles in your arms and back.

I can’t think of a more rewarding exercise activity!

The combination of garden exercise is great for your body

When you’re working in the garden, you’re not just standing in one place repeating the same activity over and over. You’re turning the compost pile, you’re pushing a wheelbarrow, you’re pruning trees and dragging branches.

All of these activities combine together to strengthen and tone your muscles in a way that’s entertaining and keeps your body fit.

You can definitely get exercise by just doing garden work

Just like other physical activities, you need to be active for at least 30 minutes to really reap the benefits. But fortunately, there’s plenty of work to do in the garden to make gardening satisfy those New Year’s resolutions.
We all know that the key to losing weight is eating healthy, well-balanced meals throughout the day, and avoid living a sedentary lifestyle. As an avid gardener, I can tell you that growing a vegetable garden at home can serve two valuable requirements for weight loss.

The first being the organic healthy food you need for a well-balanced diet, and the second being a moderate amount of physical activity required for maintaining a successful garden.

Garden work burns a lot of calories

According to gardening is an excellent activity for burning calories.

  • Digging, spading, filling garden, composting burns 272 calories per hour
  • Planting seedlings, shrubs burns 228 calories per hour
  • Raking leaves burns 224 calories per hour
  • Picking up the yard, light yard work, picking flowers or vegetables burns 136 calories per hour

By contrast:

  • Walking on a treadmill at 3.0 mph, a moderate speed, not carrying anything burns 156 calories per hour
  • Bicycling, leisure, slower than 10 mph, to work or for pleasure burns 204 calories per hour
  • Weight lifting, light or moderate effort, light workout burns 136 calories per hour

Of course, the larger the garden, the more work required. Cultivating the soil, picking weeds, watering, digging holes, and turning compost are all physically demanding and work your muscles.

Ways To Pump Up Your Garden Workout

👉 Pop a squat to grab and pull those weeds. Remaining in a squatting position while you work vs sitting or kneeling further works your leg and core muscles.

👉 If doing one activity for too long becomes uncomfortable, rotate between raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and digging every 15 minutes or so.

👉 Skip the power tools and opt for manual trimmers, loppers, and mowers whenever possible.

👉 Get a set of these, and dance like no one is watching to your favorite playlist.

👉 Don’t be afraid to throw in a set of push-ups, sit-ups, or squats just to feel the burn.

Get a great gardening workout.

Check out these (admittedly goofy) gardening workout videos for more ideas:

Learn more outdoor exercises you can do for free at

Learn how you can use essential oils to supplement your fitness goals at

So can growing tomatoes actually help you lose weight?

I do tend to lose some weight when the weather warms outside and I’m spending more time in the garden and less time inside hiding from the cold and wind.

I’m not going to promise that you can lose 30 pounds in 90 days by using gardening as exercise, but you can get some extra physical activity that you need to keep your body fit. Plus, keeping active and busy is a good way to prevent eating out of boredom!

And the best part is that all of the work you put into your vegetable garden will yield healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables to support your diet and nutrition goals.

I’d love to hear how you use gardening as exercise!

Share your tips in the comments below!


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Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen summer outdoor exercise scorer Raiders have been prepared for everyone, everyone by number seated, with a high score is not a dream.

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Hairstyle: Hairless girl & middot; black “drill” > 鸳鸯 milk tea “less” > hairy girl · gold “medium & middot; drill” > Messy · red “medium & middot; pumping” > messy sprouting “pull”

dress: apricot flower “gong/jin” (29737) > folk song “jin/pu” (28745)

Tops: Sweet peaches “Less / Gold / Draw” (16375) > Library & middot; Powder “Less / Gold / Draw” (16155) > Watermelon skin “Gold” (15737)

Bottoms: 薏米仁「定·金/抽”(15033)

Coat: Fog Street “Punch” > The Year of the Life “Punch” > The Painter · The Red “The &Middot; The Picture” > Small Oven “Gold / Pumping”

Socks: Moonlight “Pumping / Cashing” > Tarot & Middot; Gorgeous “In & middot; Scorpion / Scorpion” > Butterfly Green Ring “Pumping / Cashing”

Socks: Fairy tale & middot; Gorgeous “in & middot; public / pumping / pumping” > honey words star & middot; powder “dream” > love side “sign in” = fantastic clown socks “activity” = demon idiom “public”

Shoes: Paper Plane “Gold” > Hearts & Bones “Activity” > Black Platform Shoes “Gold / Pump”

Makeup: Pure Angel “Punching / Honing” > Hippie Clown ” Activities”> Kitahara “Gold”

Spirit of Fluorescence: Stringless Guqin “Dream”> Umbrella of Glory “Dream”> Rabbit and Romance “Dreams”


Earrings: 莺蕊”图”> 暖心相随”抽抽”> 红果金” 金

Scarf: Colorblock scarf ] = Natural gift “Gold/Pumpkin” = Snowflakes Cocoa “Pump” > Charm collar · Marvel “Set · In · Picture” > Horde Arm Ring ” Figure>> Denim scarf · gray pattern “medium · in · public / pumping” > knit shawl · white “medium & middot; gold / pumping”

necklace: Emerald ring “map” &gt Climbing “pumping” = pearl necklace · cherry “drill” > glass star “dream” > wild collar “map” > item “gold”

jewelry · left: Blue Bracelet “Lesser” > Knot Note “Picture” > Bowknot “Achievement” > Lemon Bracelet “Deb” > Fine Metal Ring & “Deb”

Hand & middot; Right: Jade Bracelet ” Figure>> Marine Beads · Gorgeous “In & Middot; Public / Pumping / Pumping” > Marine Beads Chain “Public / Pumping”

Craftsmanship & middot; Pair: Red Riding Hood’s hand ring “pulling” &gt Idol gloves “reconstruction” > wave band “public/pumping” > purple & middot; gloves “pumping” > wave band · gorgeous “in & middot; public/pumping”

hand & middot; Left: Green umbrella “Figure” > Night umbrella “Pump” = Star umbrella “Gift”

Hand & middot; Right: No pain “Punch” = Little Red Riding Hood’s basket “Pump” > Ling粽 “Activity” > Exquisite & middot; Salty “Event” > Fan & middot; West Affection “Drill/Pump”

Waist: Small apron “Figure” > Assassin’s Waist “Figure” &gt ; Light coffee belt “Set & middot; Gold / pumping”

Accessories · Special

Neck: Red maple satin & midDot; rare “in & middot; public / pumping” > flower marry veil “map” > blood maple satin “public/pumping” > dream yarn “chart”

face: alert time “gold / Pumping”> fashion pioneer · brother “gong/drill”

shoulder: crown badge “gift” > roco packet “redemption” > puff packet “redemption”

Tattoos: Manjussah China’s “Compensation” > Sprout Bear Eyes “Gift” > Qi Tiansui Blue Line “Skull”

Wings: Angel Wings “Pumping / Converting” > Power Sprayer “Heart” &gt Tomorrow Wings “氪”

Tail: Warm Brown Iris “「定·兑” > Black and White Iris “兑” = Cold Iris “「·兑” > 白喵尾 “抽

Prospects: Swinging Bears “signed in” > Miracle Circus “Activity” > Wenshan Shuhai · Less “plucked”

Background: Funny Fun “Activity” > Absurd Paradise “Activity” > R&D bar stool “Pumping/vouching” > Months of thousands “Heavy/redemption” > Wenshan Shuhai · More “pumping”

Hair accessories: Strawberry cake “Public” &gt Sand Washing “Activity” > Small Lemon “Compensation”

Ears: Heart & Moon Fox “Activities”

Light Effects: Spinning Ball “Activity” > “Music” > Crystal music box “氪”

Thread: Broken 枷「图」> 提枷”in·图”

Skin: 破残木偶「图」> Line puppet “in & middot; picture”

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Outdoor exercising ideas

I am currently on a Slimming World journey and have been since the beginning of January 2019. 17 day’s in and I was awarded my half stone loss award and was 10.5 lbs lighter.

I had been on a Slimming World journey before and absolutely regret not continuing my journey back then. I lost 3 stone and sadly it had all gone back on. I am now fully aware that a lifestyle change is called for and I am fully focused this time round and prepared to give it my all.

The one thing I have learnt from my past slimming journey and that is that it has to be a lifestyle change for good and not just to lose the weight and then go back to your old habits or you will just be back to square one again.

You can still enjoy the things you love but in moderation. A healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, it is all about being in control and making better choices.

Eating healthy and doing some light exercises daily will see you on the right path to a much healthier lifestyle.

Five ways you can exercise when outdoors are: 1. Biking

When going out why not leave the car at home and go on your bike instead if local enough to do so. Or when at home why not grab some cheeky time to yourself and go for a bike ride on your own for a bit. Or even make a fun hour or so and go off out with the kids on your bikes. The kid’s will love it.

2. Outdoor gym

Did you know that 1000’s of outdoor gym’s have been installed across the UK in recreational areas? Containing bikes, treadmills and even tonning equipment. All of which are free to use which are a great way to exercise when outdoors. You can find out more details and where your local outdoor gym is here.

3. Walking is a great way to keep fit

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and is also free to enjoy. It is something you can enjoy at your own pace as and when you like. There are so many beautiful walking routes with dedicated pathways you can enjoy. Walks can be made that bit more harder if you wish depending on your chosen location to walk. I have currently been enjoying river walks, lake walks and forest walks with my two dogs. If you are stuck for walk route ideas Walking Britain have a list.

4. Fun with the kids

Bring out that inner child in yourself and join in with the kids when outside. Who said your too old for fun in the park? show your child you have footy skills too or even challenge your child to a game of tennis. Have a family game of rounders, play hide-n-seek in the woods, have hula hoop competitions, challenge each other at basketball, have races or find a skate park. The list is endless and fun.

5. Running

Running requires nothing but a good pair of running shoes for comfort and suitable clothing for different weather types. Running is good for your health for many of different reasons. Running is one of the most vigorous exercises and is a good way to burn calories and lose weight. Something I am currently looking into giving a try is couch to 5k – a running plan for beginners. And then hopefully move onto a timed park run. I think I would really need to work on my fitness levles first and work towards the couch to 5k. I will be chatting with my GP before starting the couch to 5k, just to check I am ok healthwise to start it.

You don’t need expensive gym memberships, keep fit classes or even loads of expensive gym equipment to help you lose weight – all you need is determination.

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

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Calorie Counter

I found this article while trying to figure out what to put on
list for today….
Doing yardwork may not be on your list of exercises to burn calories, but
perhaps it should be. Depending on how much you weigh and the type of work you
do, you can burn 240 to 448 calories per hour. In general, the more you weigh
and the more vigorous the activity, the more calories you burn.
Calories Burned at 125 Pounds
A person weighing about 125 pounds burns approximately 240 calories an hour
doing activities such as raking the lawn, sacking leaves or grass, and planting
seedlings or shrubs. Mowing the lawn with a power push mower burns about 270
calories per hour, and pulling weeds burns 278. Chores that burn approximately
300 calories per hour include digging or spading dirt and laying sod or crushed
rock. Mowing the lawn with a hand push mower burns 330 calories per hour, and
chopping wood burns 360.
Calories Burned at 155 Pounds
If your weight is approximately 155 pounds, activities such as planting
seedlings and shrubs, raking the lawn, and sacking leaves or grass should burn
about 298 calories per hour. At this weight, mowing with a power push mower for
one hour burns 334 calories, pulling weeds burns 344, and digging dirt or laying
sod burns about 372. Mowing with a hand push mower burns 410 calories per hour,
while chopping wood burns 446.
Calories Burned at 185 Pounds
If you weigh about 185 pounds, planting seedlings and shrubs, raking the lawn,
and sacking leaves or grass each burns approximately 356 calories per hour. You
should burn about 400 calories per hour mowing with a power push mower, and
pulling weeds burns about 410. Burn 444 calories if you lay sod or crushed rock,
or dig or spade dirt for an hour. Mow with a hand push mower for an hour to burn
488 calories. Chopping wood burns about 532 calories per hour.
The calculations given for the number of calories burned are not exact. It is
likely that your weight varies a bit from that used in the calculations, and
people typically do not do yardwork at a constant rate. For example, if you rake
the lawn more vigorously than another person, you’ll burn more calories than
that person in the same amount of time. Use the calculations as a guide to help
you get a general idea of how many calories you burn doing yardwork.
Calories Burned Calculator The Ultimate Healthy Living Toolbar Get Daily Fitness

Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three
Different Weights; July 2004
USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Weight Management
Article reviewed by Denise Kelly Last updated on: May 26, 2011
Read more:


Yesterday I spent about 8 hours weeding my front garden, I took it from this:

to this:

The dandilions taken out filled a full large garbage can –

Yes, that is all dandilions. I was tempted to take my scale outside to see how much it weighs, but in the end its the volume that floors me more. said that in the five hours I worked on it before dinner I burned 1600 calories – or just over 330 calories an hour. I just laughed! Yes, my hands hurt and I am a bit stiff, but I spent the day primarily on my butt working with a hand tool. Only for short bit of time did I use a pitchfork to loosen some areas that had a lot of clover (I found the clover roots held the dandilions in). According to, an hour of weeding with my weight would be 433 calories. Two other websites had it in between those numbers, 360 and 410. I can’t believe those numbers – maybe there is another way to weed that I don’t know about? Because I can’t quite beleive these numbers, I won’t quote my extra activity in my outs for today’s numbers.



– Still on track for 1-2 pound loss this week.

This is the third year I have tried to get the weeds out of my garden. Every year I spend a lot of time in the spring and get them all out… but they keep coming back, in fact I would say my front yard is worse this year than before. I was not able to work on the clover yesterday, so my yard may be dandilion free but it is hardly weed free. I fear the clover is taking over much the way the dandilions did.

Weeding is a very introspective activity. I always love the analogy between sin and weeds and how we need to focus on the root of our problems, not the symptoms. The fact that this year is worse than others spoke volumes. I have big issues with consistency – I tend to think a short burst will take care of everything. But that doesn’t work with weeding. Once a year to clear the area isn’t working. I made a decision to work for an extra hour each week on it when I hang my laundry. If I don’t put it into the routine of life I am going to loose my lawn. The same holds true for my weight. Its not enough to push hard through lent, or during a trip. I need to watch my intake everyday.

The same holds for my spirituality. I have to make sure I am on track daily, weekly… My trip to Rome showed me just how important a yearly retreat is. My time in the garden showed me how important regular time with Him is. I have made headway in my life because of a dedicated effort to keep up with confession. This is more than just a weekly trip to the box. It includes continued reading on how to improve my examination. It includes taking time on a daily basis to note where I am. I can use the Ignatian Examen or a number of other standardized examinations of conscience.

I have lots of weeds yet to pull, and there is so much more to getting a healthy lawn than just clearning the weeds. Lots and lots to do, and its not a quick fix. No stripping of the old and laying of sod here. If I had the money I would be tempted to do that, but thankfully God hasn’t put that temptation in front of me. I need practice in this long haul stuff. I need training in consistency. I thank Him for how he has placed this task in front of me. It also gives me something to think about other than food… and that is a good thing.

Using Yard Work Calories To Lose Weight

If you are eager to drop some pounds but cannot find the time or money for a gym, consider the yard work calories that you could burn off. You do not have to join a gym, pay fees and rearrange your schedule in order to lose weight. Weight loss opportunities are all around you, especially if you have your own yard or land. The best thing about working off calories in the yard is that you actually accomplish something while you shed the weight instead of staring at a lot of other people on stationary bikes at a gym.

Why Yard Work?

You could lose weight on your own time in many ways. You could easily find an exercise regimen on the Internet and follow it in the privacy of your own home. However, it takes a lot of discipline to follow these guidelines and it may require time that you do not have. Let’s face it, everybody is busy these days. If you still have a yard in which to work, you may be doing a lot of overtime or keeping up with two or three jobs. Fitting in some time at the gym can be hard to justify, no matter how important your weight problem is to you.

Yard work, however, is inevitable. You have to fit it into your schedule. You can really kill two birds with one stone here because both yard work and exercise are not very exciting tasks for most people. However, most people also understand their necessity. This should give you more enthusiasm for your yard work and your exercise. Instead of eagerly awaiting to get the minimum done before you return to the shade or the air conditioning of your home, you can take satisfaction as you put in the extra time to really accomplish some serious projects outdoors while you simultaneously drop some weight.

How Can I Calculate Yard Work Calories Burned?

One nice thing about going to the gym is that they have a lot of instruments and charts that can explain to you just how many calories you burn with each allotment of time in an exercise or with each pound of resistance. Thanks to the Internet, however, you can get some of the same information using pages derived from a yard work calories calculator. The number of calories burned at each activity depends on the amount of time that you put in and how much you weigh. The figures in the examples that follow are rough but usable.

Yard Work Calories – at 125 Pounds

If you begin this weight loss stratagem at 125 pounds, you will need to spend an hour raking leaves or planting shrubs to burn off about 240 calories. Mowing the lawn and pulling weeds will each burn around 30 more calories than that. Naturally, as you increase the strength required, you increase the number of calories burned. Digging will eat up about 300 calories per hour and chopping wood burns more than 350 calories in the same time period.

Yard Work Calories – at 155 Pounds

Since you are carrying more weight around, the same activities will burn more calories in return for the same intensity. This is one of the few times that extra weight pays off! Raking those leaves will now burn nearly 300 calories in just one hour. Mowing the lawn will use more than 330 calories at this weight and digging now burns more than 370. As a 155-pounder, you will use up 446 calories per hour while chopping wood.

Yard Work Calories – at 185 Pounds

Now raking leaves burns more than 350 calories per hour, mowing burns 400 and digging nearly 450. Chopping wood for an hour at this weight will require more than 530 calories.

How Do I Get Started?

A lot of people are unenthusiastic about yard work and simply go at it willy-nilly for a while before quitting. You should strategize about how many yard work calories per hour you want to burn. You can base your landscaping activities around how many calories you need or want to lose that day. This should help you complete plans for your yard while you shape your body.

Be Careful

It is easy to get a little too enthusiastic about shedding pounds and beautifying the scenery around your home. It is most likely that the sun will be out when you do this work and you will sweat a lot. Apply sunblock generously and drink lots of water while you work. Staying hydrated is important to help your body adjust to exercise properly and also to keep you from dehydrating out in that sun. Watch out for regional pests, such as snakes and insects that could cut short your workout with a nasty bite or sting.

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As a nation, we are increasingly technology obsessed – and nature deprived – so maybe it’s time to look at how digging deep during National Gardening Week (April 10 – 16) can help you lose weight and get fit.

Emma Clarke, nutritionist at calorie experts, Nutracheck, explains more: “An hour of general gardening can burn around 250 calories. Keep moving and turn your gardening into a reasonable intensity workout. Try to keep rests to an ‘as-required’ minimum and leave your green garden waste bin at the other end of the garden – shuttle back and forth with armfuls of greenery.

“Mowing the lawn for 30 minutes can burn around 175 calories. And if your lawn mower doesn’t collect the cuttings, that’s good news as raking up grass burns around 125 calories for half an hour. Every little helps.


“Digging is great cardio gardening activity – just 30 minutes can burn around 300 calories. It will be more if you have heavy clay soil or hard ground. Keep going at a steady pace without a break for maximum calorie burn.

“You can also ditch the weed killer and do it yourself. It’s cheaper, produces no chemicals and burns around 80 calories per hour. Weeding can be hard on the knees, so try to use a soft pad to protect yourself from knee-related injuries. Also, try to adjust your body as you move from weed to weed to prevent over-reaching: leaning beyond our centre of gravity creates stressed posture and sore bodies.


“Gardening tends to find those muscles we don’t use too often! So, as with any physical exercise, it’s important to remember to prepare our bodies before and after. Try gentle stretching or yoga-style moves in preparation for the work ahead.

“And finally, reduce potential suffering and muscle stiffness the next day by having a hot bath or shower once you’ve finished for circulation and muscle flushing. The good news is that the benefits of an ice bath over a hot bath are fairly minimal, so unless you’re an elite athlete, I’d opt for the hot bath!

“We know that exercise is the top choice for many people who want to lose weight; by including gardening, you’re getting a good workout which doesn’t cost anything and it becomes a regular weekly task during the summer months. Why not wear an activity tracker like Fitbit to count the extra gardening steps? You’ll do more than you think!

“However, if your goal is to use extra exercise to help you to lose weight, it’s important to remember that nutrition has a much bigger effect than exercise.

“Most of us overestimate how many calories we’re burning off during any form of exercise – and it takes a lot more effort to burn calories than to consume them. So it’s important to track how many calories you are eating by keeping a food diary – either written or using an App. That way you can see how the exercise you are doing is helping your weight loss efforts”.

The NHS recommends an average man needs 2,500 calories a day and a woman around 2,000, depending on age and other factors. is a top rated diet website with a calorie counter and food diary available via an App and website. Super-fast and easy to use, the barcode-scanning App lets you add food to your diary in just 2 clicks. Nutracheck’s unique search shows photos of food to make it easy to spot what you ate from over 200,000 products in the UK food database.

If you’d like to shape up for summer . . .

Moira Chisholm

I’m the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what’s new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I’m on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!

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Gardening As Exercise | Archives | Aggie Horticulture Gardening as Exercise

1. Q. Should gardening and yard work really be considered a good form of exercise?

A. Absolutely. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. A seven-year study of 12,000 middle-aged men at high risk for coronary heart disease showed that those who kept up moderate, leisure time physical activity for an average of about 50 minutes every day were healthier than those who did little or nothing. And one of the top choices of these active men was gardening. The key to good health, according to another study, is expending 2,000 calories a week in exercise, beyond the routines of daily life. Your cardiovascular system will benefit most from running, brisk walking, cycling, and other activities that raise your heart rate sufficiently for at least 20 minutes. But you can still get many benefits from an aerobic exercise such as gardening if you pursue it regularly.

Even the less strenuous forms of garden upkeep – weeding, trimming, raking – can burn off about 300 calories an hour. Spading, lifting, tilling, and raking can improve muscle tone and strength. You can make an effort to garden energetically, rather than just puttering. Try to work at a constant pace. Use manual clippers and trimmers instead of power equipment. As with any kind of exercise, it’s a good idea to warm up and stretch before you start.

For your comfort, safety, and the good of your back and knees, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you spend time on your knees, use a cushion. Keep your back straight and don’t sit on your heels. Stand up and stretch your legs every 10 minutes or so.
  • Use a lightweight, long-handled shovel or spade, and don’t overload it. Bend at the knee and step forward as you raise and dump each shovel full of soil.
  • Bend at the knees and hips when picking up tools.

It’s not a good idea to abandon all other exercise in favor or working in the yard. Gardening can pay some dividends, however, that running doesn’t – flowers and fresh vegetables. Who’s to measure the satisfactions and benefits of those?

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Gardening is Good Exercise

If you garden for pleasure, you may not be aware of how beneficial this hobby is for your health. While you’re preparing your garden plot to grow fresh veggies, or while you’re busy turning the compost pile, you’re actually doing a decent amount of exercise as well!

Basic yard care tasks such as mowing the lawn and raking up leaves are also good ways to get exercise. Additionally, gardening and yard care are beneficial for your mental health, too. Just think of the relaxation you experience when working in the garden.

Not convinced that mowing the lawn and planting veggies can be as good for you as an aerobics class? The research proves it! Various health professionals and university studies show that gardening and yard work are more than just enjoyable hobbies.

In this article we’ll take a look at the research that shows just how beneficial gardening and yard care is for your health. Additionally, we’ll share some tips with you so that you can maximize the health benefits of your gardening experience.

What gardening for exercise can do for you

Gardening and yard care are unique forms of exercise that allow you to do something calming, creative and fun while you work various muscle groups and get a moderate level of cardiovascular exercise as well.

This is truly the great thing about gardening for exercise, as you can use your whole body while you’re working. Gardening involves a number of different kinds of exercises, including stretching, weightlifting, and a moderate cardiovascular workout.

Barbara Ainsworth and Associates published an excellent article about exertion values related to a number of common gardening activities. The study showed that you can expend as much effort raking the lawn as you would during a leisurely bicycle ride. Trimming trees and shrubs is roughly the equivalent of walking at a moderate pace. Heavier work like clearing brush and stacking wood can give you the equivalent workout as a light aerobics class. You can check out the full results of the study at the Virginia Cooperative Extension website.

Dan Hickey, the former editor of National Gardening Magazine, is also a big fan of gardening and yard work as a form of exercise. He has been involved in studies related to how many calories you can burn while you garden and claims that 45 minutes worth of gardening can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics. He also talks about turning compost as a great alternative to lifting weights, and raking the lawn as the equivalent to using a rowing machine. Read more about his study here.

Like other forms of exercise, gardening can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and keep away problems with heart disease, diabetes other diseases related to inactivity and excess weight.

You can also use gardening and yard work to keep extra pounds off. Later in the article, we have listed some information on roughly how many calories you can burn doing different gardening activities. Remember, if you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll generally loose a little weight. Check out this article for more information with tips on loosing weight with gardening.

The National Institute of Health also recommends gardening 3-5 a week for 30-45 minutes as a way to help reduce problems with obesity. Baptist Memorial Health Care, an award winning health care network also recommends gardening as a form of exercise. You can read more about their research and why they recommend gardening at their website.

Activities in the yard and garden are also a form of exercise that is appropriate for a variety of people and age groups. Depending on the activity, gardening and yard work are not quite as hard on your body as say jogging and other forms of moderate to strenuous exercise. This means that even if you’re older, you can still enjoy puttering in the garden and cleaning up your lawn. There are a lot of activities that you can do in your yard and garden with a wide range of physical exertion levels, so you’re bound to find something to fit your needs.

For older gardeners, especially women, gardening can also help reduce problems with osteoporosis. Just make sure you check with your doctor first if you’re older and haven’t already been gardening for a while. That way you can tackle the gardening tasks that are appropriate for you.

Another great thing about gardening is that for many people it’s already a hobby. If you enjoy the form of exercise you’re doing, you’ll look forward to it, and you’re more likely to stick to your routine. Personally, I’d much rather be among my plants and out in the sunshine than in a crowded room with music blaring doing aerobics.

If you already garden, good for you! You can increase the amount of time you spend gardening to improve your health even more. If you’re not an active gardener, think about starting a small garden plot of veggies. This way, you can combine the joys of growing your own food with a light exercise regimen.

How Best to Garden for Exercise

When gardening, like will other forms of exercise, you’ll need to follow a few basic tips to maximize your experience. First off, you should warm up a bit. Do some basic stretches so that your muscles are ready. Also, if you plan on lifting any heavy objects, remember to always lift with your knees, not your back. Check out this excellent gardening exercise program designed by a professional.

A good bit of advice Dan Hickey from National Gardening Magazine gives is to start off with a moderate exercise/gardening program and then work your way up to heavier tasks and activities. This is especially important if you’re not already an active gardener, or if you’re an older gardener. Don’t overdo it the first time or you may strain a muscle or two.

For gardening and yard work to actually provide a beneficial workout, you must garden for at least 30 minutes a day. Try including a variety of activities in your routine so that you use various muscle groups. Moderately strenuous activities are best.

If you’re busy and don’t garden for 30 minutes at a time, not to worry. Even if you perform a few gardening and yard care tasks throughout the day, you’ll benefit. Dr. William Haskell, professor of medicine at the Stanford University Center for Research in Disease Prevention states that 10 minutes of moderate exercise, 3 times a day, can give you a similar amount of exercise as an extended 30 minutes program.

You have to be doing something like raking, spreading compost, etc. to make these short spurts work, though. Haskell also says that ideally you should perform regular aerobic activity to maximize these benefits. Regular aerobic activity will overall work to strengthen your heart and lungs.

In the winter, you may wonder what kinds of activities you can do in the yard and garden to keep up a level of activity. Try shoveling snow, turning the compost pile, or having a small collection of houseplants that you can weed, etc.

Calories Burned During Specific Gardening Activities

Here, we’ve listed some statistics related to how many calories you can expect to burn during specific gardening and yard care activities. Source: Iowa State University.

• Iowa State University claims that women in general can burn up to 300 calories with an hour of moderately strenuous gardening activities like cultivating or using a spade. Men typically burn around 400 calories per hour while doing these activities.

• Raking is another good activity and burns a little less calories that using a cultivator or a spade. This provides some exercise for your legs, back, and arms as well. The reason is that the ground is providing resistance and thus, your muscles work hard to move the earth.

• Using a lawn mower is also an excellent workout. However, not all mowers will give you the same kind of exercise. Naturally, we recommend manual reel mowers to maximize the amount of calories you burn. If you use a reel mower, women can burn almost 400 calories an hour, while men burn almost 500. A power mower will reduce this to around 250 calories for women and 350 for men. The folks from the National Gardening Magazine also recommend using a reel mower instead of a power mower. In addition to reel mowers, if you use other manual tools in the garden, like a rake instead of a leaf blower, you’ll be better off.

• Planting transplants including trees, shrubs, etc. work out to 250 calories burned for women, and 350 for me. This activity will also provide your arms some exercise. If you’re planting trees and shrubs, you can expect to be digging holes, so that translates to a pretty decent upper body workout.

• Weeding is a necessary chore in the garden. Some people hate to weed, but if you consider that you’re exercising while you weed, you can think of as replacing a trip to the gym. Weeding burns as least as many calories as mowing the lawn with a power mower.

• Some of the best gardening activities you can do to both work muscles and burn calories are to move compost, rake, dig holes for transplanting, etc.

You can burn over 100 calories when you turn the compost pile for 15 minutes. Source:

Getting Started and Keeping It Up

When you walk away from the garden, however, it doesn’t sit there like an elliptical trainer waiting for you to come back. It starts changing. The keys to making gardening a hobby you can maintain include:

  • Start small. A 4-foot by 6-foot bed can produce a lot of tomatoes or cut flowers. Or you can garden in containers, just be sure they are large enough that they don’t dry out too quickly. Containers are great for city folk and those without a back 40, also.
  • Be realistic. Peonies are not going to live in Phoenix. Forget it. You need to learn your growing region number (check any catalog, because these will soon be a part of your life, too). Stick with plants with a chance of survival. Constantly killing inappropriate species can rasp on your last nerve.
  • Don’t do one activity each time you go out there. “Switch every 30 minutes,” Mason advises.
  • Take regular breaks. “I sometimes put a rock or something to show where I am quitting the weeding,” Mason says. You can also set a timer.
  • Lift heavy bags carefully. Remember the old saw: Lift with your legs. “Use your biggest, strongest muscles for the heavy stuff,” Mason notes. She also says to watch the twisting. “We tend to lift a shovel of dirt, then twist to the side to dump it. Move your feet instead.”
  • If you have allergies, talk to your doctor about it. Lovejoy doesn’t stop gardening, she takes a Benadryl. Mason points out that you can sort of de-allergize your yard. “Plants pollinated by bees tend to have heavier pollen that doesn’t fly around as much,” Mason says. “Wind-pollinated trees and plants tend to cause more trouble.”
  • Don’t throw poison everywhere. This seems so obvious, but when people see a bug, Lovejoy says, they grab a can. “Usually a squirt of water to get the bug off the plant does the trick,” she says. This goes for water gardens, too. Algaecides can cause an imbalance. Instead, cover the surface with as many lilypads as you can.
  • Don’t flip for fertilizer, either. “Fertilizers are like vitamins,” Mason says. “What you have naturally may be enough.” Better to feed the soil with compost, she says.
  • Check out all the new tools. Mason says there are new implements for people with arthritic hands or people with carpal tunnel syndrome (which she has). “Certain gloves can improve your grip,” she says.
  • If you are heaving off the couch to garden, take it slowly. Sedentary people who suddenly start exercising vigorously risk injury.
  • Take a nice hot bath after gardening. You’ve earned it!

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