Garden Cardio—Feel the Burn!

We all know that gardening is great for the body and soul. Working outside in the fresh air while soaking in the sun’s vitamin D is a great way to stay invigorated and connected with nature. But did you know that gardening is actually a great form of exercise? Check out how many calories per hour you can burn from the following activities*:

Clean-up (deadheading, picking up)


Digging (spading, amending, composting)


General gardening


Harvesting fruit


Lawn mowing (with a power mower)


Lawn mowing (with a riding mower)


Laying sod


Planting seedlings


Planting trees


Raking the lawn


Shoveling snow


Tree or shrub trimming (manual)


Tree or shrub trimming (power)


Watering (with hand held hose)




* Source: Assumed body weight: 150 lbs. To maximize the caloric benefit and avoid injury, there are a few tips you might want to keep in mind before heading into the great outdoors. First of all, as with any exercise program, you always want to warm up. Start off by doing a few stretches before beginning your gardening activity. The exact type of stretches will depend on your task at hand, but should consist of shoulder, back, arm, and leg stretches, especially if you’ll be doing any serious digging. You also want to start off with smaller tasks. Work up to your more strenuous tasks so that you can stretch your muscles and avoid strain or overuse. And when you’re going to be doing a lot of work on the ground, such as weeding, kneel on the ground instead of bending over. You’ll find there’s much less strain on your back if you do so. So what are you waiting for? Get out in your garden and burn some calories! And if you’re like me, you’ll find that your iPod will keep you motivated and moving. I know, I know – I should be enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature. But I can do that on my hammock with a cool glass of water after all the caloric burn is over.