Gardening offers many health benefits, and one of many is how great it is for burning calories. Here are just some of the rewards you can hope to reap from your garden, including information on how it can help you de-stress, tone you muscles and burn fat.
For expert gardening tips from some of the UK's best-known gardening experts, visit our gardening tips and advice section.
Calories burned in gardening
When it comes to burning calories in the garden digging and shovelling come out at the top of the list, with mowing and weeding not far behind. Spend half an hour doing any of the following garden activities and expect to burn up:
- Digging and shovelling: 250 calories
- Lawn mowing: 195 calories
- Weeding: 105 calories
- Raking: 100 calories
There are 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat, so spending a few active hours each week in the garden will stack up over time and help you get fit.
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Gardening tones your muscles
Wielding the hoe and strimming the edges of your lawn are great alternatives to a sweaty tone-up class in the gym.
Hedge trimming helps shape your biceps while raking, forking and mowing will all help to strengthen the arms and shoulders as well as toning the abdominal muscles.
Digging and squatting down to move or lift objects can help tone thighs and buttocks.
10 ways to get fit without going to a gym
Gardening is good for your heart
Any activity that is energetic enough to leave you slightly out of breath and raise the heartbeat counts as moderate intensity exercise, which, according to the experts, can help protect against heart disease.
Get moving for just half an hour three times a week and you can expect some benefit, so if the sun is shining what better incentive do you need for venturing into the garden and pulling up those weeds?
10 healthy reasons to get outside more
Gardening relieves stress
It's not just your body that will benefit. The psychological benefits of being outdoors, working in the sunshine and fresh air, are also clear.
Studies have shown that just looking at trees and plants reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and relieves tension in muscles.
In much the same way as a beautiful painting lifts the mood, looking at a summer garden, soaking up the colours, smells and sounds can help overall wellbeing.
What stress does to your health
Gardening stimulates the senses
Horticultural therapists have found that, for elderly patients in particular, gardening can stimulate all the senses - providing interesting sights, sounds, textures, tastes and scents - and stimulate memories and connection with the past.
Gardening builds confidence
Watching things grow from a tiny seed instils a sense of achievement and self esteem. It gives an opportunity for the gardener to take care of and responsibility for another living thing. It also keeps the brain busy by providing new plants, new flowers and new techniques that need to be learnt and absorbed.
Gardening is one great way to help keep fit but there’s a whole world of exercise and keeping healthy to explore. Find out more with our dedicated exercise and fitness articles.
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