Burn Extra Calories While Gardening

Did you know that gardening is a great exercise? As if you needed another reason to buy more plants. Gardening is great for the body and mind. It’s a relaxing activity that helps build muscle, burn calories, and ease stress. Wondering how to burn extra calories while gardening? There are ways to make the most out of your weeding and mulching to keep you burning calories during your everyday gardening routine. Learn how to stay fit while tending to your garden.

Get Active

The Mayo Clinic recommends that people get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. If you have a desk job or work on the computer a lot, you probably spend the majority of the day sitting indoors. It’s important to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, surround yourself in nature, and get moving. Gardening is an excellent hobby because it burns calories and makes your yard more beautiful. It also has essential mental health benefits, like reducing blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. 

How Many Calories Am I Burning While Gardening?

Depending on what you’re doing in the garden, you can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories per hour! WebMD helped break down calories burnt while gardening by activity: 

  • Heavy hard work (like landscaping, moving rocks, laying sod, carrying bags of dirt) - 400-600 calories per hour
  • Raking and bagging leaves - 350-450 calories per hour 
  • Mowing the lawn-  250-350 calories per hour and push mowers extra 100 calories/hour 
  • Gardening pulling weeds and planting- 200-400 calories per hour

Stretch Before Gardening

Gardening works many muscles in the body, and stretching helps prevent any injuries. The most-used muscles when gardening is the back, shoulders, arms. You can also get a great core workout and leg workout depending on what projects you’re working on. Before heading out to the garden, stretch your body, and wake up your muscles. 

Don’t Work Too Hard

Gardening is often an outdoor hobby, and during the summers it can get hot. Make sure to take enough breaks and always have plenty of water to stay hydrated. When the weather is really warm, try to garden early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is less intense. Always wear sunscreen and a hat when working in the sun.

Burn Extra Calories While Gardening

Make the most out of your daily gardening chores and turn it into a workout. Gardening can be a great full-body workout when you work hard to engage your muscles and put in a little extra effort. One great way to burn extra calories while gardening is to go “old school” and ditch the electric tools. Use a push mower and manual clippers and trimmers instead of your electric and gas-powered ones. You’ll feel the burn!

Muscle Building Activities

There’s no need to hit the gym and lift weights when you can do these exercises. When you’re shoveling or moving heavy objects, it engages your arms, shoulders, back, and core. Always lift with your core, not your back. Bend at the hips, keep your back straight, and lift through your legs and core when picking up heavy objects. If you have a good grip on a bag of mulch or dirt, use it in place of weights or a kettlebell to do squats, lunges, calf raises, and deadlifts (make sure to use the proper form). 

  • Shoveling 
  • Lifting bags of wood 
  • Moving rocks 
  • Turning compost 
  • Stacking wood 
  • Carrying water
  • Mulching 
  • Wheelbarrowing 

Calorie Burners

If you’re looking for more of a cardio workout with a little less weight-bearing intensity, these gardening duties help to burn calories. 

  • Weeding (squat instead of sitting or kneeling to work the legs)
  • Raking (it’s like the rowing machine at the gym)
  • Watering (use a watering can instead of a hose for an extra workout) 
  • Sweeping (twist and feel your abs work) 

Get More Out of Your Exercises 

Switch out your hands, work on being ambidextrous. Avoid only using your dominant hand when gardening. Change positions frequently and try to engage as many muscle groups as possible. Engage the core when you twist, feel your glutes and thighs work as you squat instead of bending down. Exaggerate your movements, using slow and controlled movements to really make your muscles work. When you do a task, put energy into it, work vigorously then take a break. Do your activities in bursts and rest rather than at a slower and more relaxed pace over time. Use your breathing to help you inhale on the easy parts, and exhale on the harder parts to engage your core. Alternate between light and heavy work to give yourself a break while still moving. 

Take it to the Next Level

Do you have a sturdy bench or picnic table? You can do step-ups, box jumps, and triceps dips. If you want to burn even more calories, you can wear a weighted vest or use ankle weights (you can use them on your wrists too) while gardening. 


Gardening is the perfect mind-body hobby as it burns calories and builds muscle while having important mental health benefits like reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. Everyday gardening tasks like weeding, raking, and sweeping help keep you in shape. You can make little tweaks to your gardening routine to turn it into a full-body workout that you’ll enjoy. Always stretch before gardening, drink plenty of water (especially in the heat), and don’t overdo it.

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