Get fit gardening

How To Turn Gardening Into A Workout-Getting Dirty & Fit

I have a newfound appreciation for gardening. Particularly during the home quarantine, I have discovered that working in my garden has been healthy for me mentally and physically. I hope I can encourage you to become a soil sister with me. 

So how do you burn approximately 300 calories an hour gardening? You may be very surprised.  Not only can you burn loads calories, get fit, but in the end, you’ll have a gorgeous yard to show for it. So let’s get dirty and fit ladies! 🙂 

There is something incredible about creating a landscape plan that includes planting trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals where they will thrive. It’s kind of like raising kids. You have to create an ideal atmosphere, proper food, water and mentoring to ensure adequate growth to ensure happiness.  


Gardening Is Good For Our Mental & Physical Health

By surrounding myself with plants creates a sanctuary and a sense of calm that I need now more than ever. No doubt, being outside is suitable for all us to decrease our stress during this pandemic. Besides helping our mental state, it turns out that gardening is an excellent workout. 

If the thought of gardening makes you sweat because it simply doesn’t appeal to you. I get it! I used to feel the same way.   What I am about to suggest simply requires you to have an open mind and consider taking a shovel to the idea. Give gardening a good try. It will “grow on you”… Seriously! Ready to slip on your athletic wear and head to the garden?

For those of you that are already gardeners, you know that gardening is one of the best ways to get exercise because it involves all of the muscle groups in your body. It’s the type of exercise that you don’t have to think about. If you focus on working on making your yard feel like a sanctuary, the rewards are two-fold.

Your Garden Is Your New Gym

Since going to the gym is not a possibility while in quarantine, I have been taking long walks, using my fitness apps and been busy digging, raking, lifting, planting, weeding in my yard nearly every day. I find at the end of the day; I am exhausted and sore all over. It got me thinking… that my garden is not the only thing shaping up. It’s doing my body good. Trust me; I need all the help I can get these days. Think of your garden as your new gym. 

If you have ever wrestled with digging out a root ball or used a shovel to dig a deep hole, you know how much energy it requires.  I find digging holes makes me sweat big time!

The pictures below is our front driveway. I planted 29 azaleas and over 30 other shrubs and flowers. Lots of work but so rewarding!!

Feel The Burn- The Science Behind Gardening and Fitness

The great news is that according to the American Heart Association, you can burn the same number of calories gardening as you would at the gym! Just another reason to get out and play in the dirt. Digging, mowing, raking is remarkably effective at building muscle as you feel the burn. 

Whether digging holes for your new azaleas and boxwoods or pulling out garden intruders, tending the garden is a great way to burn calories and work on your muscles. Did you know that if you spend 30 minutes digging and weeding, you can burn up to 315 calories? That is equal to biking 45 mins or a 15-minute weightlifting session. Furthermore, gardening activities strengthen and tone your shoulders, arms, thighs, calves, and butt. Up the intensity to take, you’ll get a cardiovascular workout to boot.

Jeffrey Restuccio is the author of Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way, encourages people to transform gardening into a comprehensive fitness program. The book introduces this novel approach to fitness enthusiasts everywhere, suggesting that the way to fitness maybe Saturday afternoon spent weeding and raking.

Try laying your own stone or crushed oyster shell pathway. Now, that’s a great workout! 

Keep Your Bones Strong Gardening

Something else, too. Ladies, we all need to keep our bones healthy. The University of Arkansas study showed that out of 3,310 women aged 50 years old and older, who gardened or did yard work at least once a week had higher bone density measurements than those who were inactive or jogged, walked, or swam or did aerobics. Who would have ever thought? 

Jeffrey Restuccio is the author of Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way, encourages people to transform gardening into a comprehensive fitness program. The book introduces this novel approach to fitness enthusiasts everywhere, suggesting that the way to fitness maybe Saturday afternoon spent weeding and raking.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Gardening?

How many calories can you burn gardening?

Thirty minutes of gardening exercise (for a 180-pound person) can burn off the following number of calories (the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn; the less you weigh, the fewer calories you’ll burn.  
  • Watering lawn or garden, 61 calories
  • Mowing lawn (riding), 101
  • Trimming shrubs (power), 142
  • Raking, 162
  • Planting seedlings, 162
  • Mowing (push with motor), 182
  • Planting trees, 182
  • Trimming shrubs (manual), 182
  • Weeding, 182
  • Clearing land, 202
  • Digging, spading, tilling, 202
  • Laying sod, 202
  • General gardening, 202
  • Mowing lawn (push mower), 243

If you want to calculate your calorie burn, check out this chart here

How many calories can you burn gardening?

6 Ways To Turn Gardening Into A Workout

1. Use Large Muscles

Just like any gym workout, using your large muscles will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. For instance, raking will work your entire upper body, including your shoulder and back muscles, as well as the pectoral muscles in your chest. Rake from both sides of your body. Your arms and legs will get lots of use when you are picking up and clearing the debris. This all-over exercise works similar muscle groups to a rowing machine.

2. Push or pull heavy loads.

If you are moving large plants, lifting bags of soil or dragging  a big tarp with big piles of vegetable matter, you’re in for a great workout! Super for the entire body. Pushing a heavy wheelbarrow or pulling a loaded sled works too.

 3.  Lunge As You Weed

Lunge and weed (Restuccio’s personal favorite). Using a hand weeder, lunge with one leg bent at the knee in front of you, and one leg bent straight back. A tool with a long handle is essential for this one, as you need to be able to dig in the dirt from a crouching position with your knee bent and back muscles straight. Restuccio says that performing gardening tasks in this stance for 30 to 40 minutes can be roughly equivalent to walking or riding a bike in terms of calories burned.

3. Change things up as you garden

 If you have some strenuous activities like picking up bags of soil, digging, raking, or moving a tree or large shrub, go from the intense activities to lighter ones. 

4.  Start Slowly

Begin with 20-30 minutes per day. Resist the temptation to take on a huge project because you will be get frustrated. If you hate weeding but love planting flowers, start there.

5. Be Intentional

Schedule gardening time into your day just like you would plan a workout.  Put it on your calendar as a reminder. Follow these steps to stay motivated to get in shape. 

6.  Stretch

Just like any workout, it doesn’t hurt to stretch before we “dig in.” I have learned this the hard way. 

So what’s the difference between gardening and yard work? I like to think of gardening as similar to yard work, but the rewards are much greater. Both gardening and yard work require maintenance, but gardening involves creativity. The landscape design at our house did not reflect my personality, so I am working hard to transform it, so it suits us better. We also have a vegetable garden, which provides an ideal way to experience the fruits of your labor.

Consider eating high energy foods to help you burn more calories. Remember that exercise can’t make up for a poor diet. 

Get out there! Let me know how it goes!


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  12. This inspired me–with nice weather and Summer around the corner, going to head to the nursery!!!

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