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Does Gardening Burn Calories?

Does Gardening Burn Calories?

If you have spent hours in the garden like me, you may have wondered if it counts as exercise. The hot sun beating down on you makes you sweat. Bending over makes you sore and dragging bags of leaves and mulch across the lawn tires you out. You stand to wipe the sweat from your forehead and stretch your back, asking yourself, “How many calories does gardening burn? Am I getting anything out of all this work besides a lovely garden?” 

I am right there with you. As a kid, I liked to be in the garden, but certain tasks like mowing the lawn in the summer or raking up leaves in the fall was always a tiring chore. It was hard work to push the mower or bag up leaves, but it was always done with my family nearby, encouraging me to get the job done. After I finished sprucing up the garden, we would share a glass of lemonade or a fresh batch of cookies. 

But it was still hard work! It seems like gardening should be just as good exercise as going to the gym. Lucky for us, gardening burns calories! Yep, all the hard work you put into your beautiful garden also helps your health. Gardening is great exercise without having to go to the gym and deal with heavy weights. You get to exercise while enjoying the sunshine and fresh air in nature’s beauty.

Different yard activities burn different amounts of calories depending on how strenuous they are. If you are looking to burn a lot of calories, aim for more difficult tasks. Remember though, everyone is different physically, with different body types and metabolisms. Listen to your body, as even with moderate exercise you don’t want to over-exert yourself. 

How Many Calories Does Gardening Burn?

  • Heavy yard work like landscaping, moving rocks or hauling dirt will burn approximately 400-600 calories per hour. 
  • Raking and bagging leaves takes about 350-450 calories per hour.
  • Planting flowers, digging holes and pulling weeds will burn around 200-400 calories per hour.
  • Mowing the lawn burns 250-350 calories per hour.

Yard Cleanup

Raking and bagging leaves is a great activity for diverse exercise as it involves different body motions. Bending and picking up bags of leaves can help tighten the abdominal muscles and improve range of motion. Moving your arms to pull the rake back and forth is a gentle repetitive motion that exercises the biceps and shoulder muscles. 

When picking up heavy bags of leaves or yard debris, remember to use proper form. Lift from your knees and take stretch breaks to avoid straining your back. 

Mowing the Lawn

Mowing the lawn is like a full body workout, using your legs and arms to push the lawnmower. It is also a cardiovascular exercise, increasing your heart rate as you push and walk.

This is often a sweaty activity, so it is important to stay hydrated and drink water while you work in the garden. Drinking water improves your metabolism, helping you shed fat and burn calories.

Does gardening burn calories

Tending Your Garden

Although planting flowers and pulling weeds may seem like moderate work, it is great exercise. This kind of gardening uses dynamic motions to get your body moving, pulling, reaching, standing up and squatting down. 

Challenge Yourself

You can increase the number of calories burned by ditching electronic tools for manual ones. Doing so can increase the number of calories burned per hour by about 100. Instead of using an electric mower use a push mower. Instead of electric hedge trimmers switch to hand trimmers or shears. Even though it might take longer, it adds to the exercise aspect of gardening. So think about the health benefits of taking more time to get rid of weeds by hand pulling them instead of using the weed eater.

Take Precautions 

Since gardening takes place outdoors, make sure you take care of yourself while you are tending your plant babies. The sun can harm your skin even if it is a cool, cloudy day on which you decide to garden. Take precautions to avoid harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and long sleeves.

 Additional Benefits

Gardening is heart healthy. If your heart race is increasing and your breathing speeds up with an activity it qualifies as cardio exercise. Improving your cardio helps boost your metabolism, which leads to increased weight loss, as well as improving your heart’s functions. This decreases the risk of heart disease. So its worth a bit of sweat to improve the health of both your body and garden. 

If your body exerts heavy energy, gardening is a wonderful way to keep it healthy and moving. Just 30 minutes a day for 3 days a week can make a big difference in your overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions: Does gardening burn calories?

Is gardening good for my mental health?

Yes! Gardening helps boost your endorphins and is beneficial for your mental health.

How do I start gardening?

Take your time starting your process. Acquire some of the basic tools for gardening. Find some good gardening gloves, trowels, and starter seeds. Check out our article on starting a garden for some more tips.

Can I still garden with arthritis or chronic pain?

Definitely. Gardening is a great way to exercise if working out in the gym is not an option. Be gentle with your body and modify. Box planters elevate your garden closer to you so bending over isn’t as much of a problem. Gardening stools help you rest while you work the soil.


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