Work Out in Your Garden
When it comes to getting the exercise you need to stay healthy, don’t underestimate the power of gardening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening qualifies as an effective form of exercise. Besides creating a beautiful outdoor space, you can burn up to 300 calories in just 30-45 minutes of gardening.
Garden upkeep activities, such as routine raking, weeding and trimming, engage multiple muscle groups at once, which improves your overall fitness level.
Below are six strategies for getting an effective workout in your garden.
- Go old school. Use manual clippers, shears and mowers instead of electric tools. Traditional push mowers, for example, require you to use your legs, upper body strength and core. Not so with power mowers, or the type that you sit on and steer.
- Create a routine. As with any workout, start slowly, then alternate light activities with heavier ones. You might rake for a little while, then dig a few holes, then mulch. Cool down for 10 to 15 minutes, perhaps by snipping flowers or picking vegetables, and you’re done! Remember that gardening requires endurance, strength and flexibility, so it’s important to build up gradually.
- Dig deep. Digging is one of the highest-intensity gardening activities, engaging multiple muscle groups. So, take every opportunity to dig.
- Keep good form. Bending at the waist instead of the knees is responsible for many gardening injuries, especially when lifting heavy items. Long-handed rakes and hoes will help you avoid back pain. And if something hurts, stop what you’re doing and take a break.
- Build in strength training. Incorporating strength-training exercises into your gardening tasks will increase the intensity. Do mini-squats to engage your core while you’re pulling weeds. Take a break from digging and do some lunges. You can even pause while you’re mowing the lawn to do tricep curls.
- Get your kids involved. Inviting your family to join you in the garden ensures they’ll get some activity and also offers a great opportunity for bonding. Make it a game. See who can dig the deepest ditch or pull the most weeds. Or create a factory line with each family member performing a different task.
Our bodies need consistent motion to function optimally, and gardening is one way to promote activity when you might otherwise be sitting. If weeds are infiltrating your yard, you have built-in motivation to get in the dirt and work. Time passes quickly and, before you know it, you’ll rack up 60 minutes of exercise.
How do you burn calories and build strength in your garden? Share your tips with us below.