How to Exercise While Gardening

Last Updated On June 10th, 2020

According to a study by the University of Virginia, gardening is a great form of moderate to strenuous exercise, akin to hiking or riding a bicycle. The amount of calories you can burn while gardening depends on what tasks you are performing and for how long. Continue reading for more information on exercising while gardening!

What does gardening exercise?

Working in the garden exercises all major muscle groups including legs, gluteal, arms, shoulders, neck, and core muscles. Not only do these muscles build strength with gardening, but you will also burn major calories. Besides building muscles, gardening can be a good stretching exercise as well, especially if you’re reaching for weeds and performing similar motions. Lifting, pushing, and shoveling give you good resistance exercise, which is great for your joints and bones.

Digging holes can burn up to 197 calories in men and 150 calories in women. Planting can burn 177 calories in men and 135 calories in women. Finally, weeding can burn up to 157 calories in men and 156 calories in women.

How to get the most exercise out of gardening

You should be exercising at least 30 minutes a day for several days a week to experience the full benefits of exercise. Nowadays, researchers say that you can break up those 30 minutes of daily exercise into shorter active periods throughout the day (at least 8 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity). This will give you the same benefits as exercising for a half hour straight. Make it easier on yourself and break up your gardening exercise to weeding in the morning and pruning in the evenings, and etc.

Depositphotos_86147394_s-2015A Few Things to Remember

  1. If you are new to exercise and to gardening, start slowly. Make sure you are lifting properly by using your legs instead of your back. Rotate through various tasks so you get to work out different major muscle groups. It’s best to alternate light tasks with more strenuous ones so you don’t burn yourself out.
  2. Even if you don’t finish your tasks, stop after 30 to 60 minutes. You can always continue where you left off the next day.
  3. You should be challenging your body, but the gardening work shouldn’t cause your body pain. If you do start feeling pain, back off and call your doctor.
  4. Make sure to stretch a little before you garden and after as well. Gardening is like exercising in the gym, if you don’t stretch, you’ll be sorry tomorrow.
  5. Focus on deep breathing as you work, and increase your range of motion. This will increase the amount of calories you burn as you garden.
  6. Switch sides, so you aren’t just exercising one half of your body. For example, rake on your right side for 15 minutes, then switch to your left side for 15 minutes.
  7. Take care, where a hat and sunscreen, stay hydrated, and work slowly if you are gardening in extreme heat.
  8. As with all forms of exercise, check with your doctor first if you are not accustomed to moderate to strenuous exercise.

Gardening is a great form of strength building, endurance, and flexibility exercise. All you need is a minimum of 30 minutes a day, a few days a week. So grab a dirty pair of pants and a shovel, and start gardening!

Also read: 7 Ways Gardening Helps the Environment

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