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How many calories does gardening burn?

20 March 2017 ( 14 May 2020 )

According to the experts a few hours hard gardening can work wonders for your health and wellbeing - as well as burn calories fast.

Mature lady watering the garden
Gardening can be a good way of burning calories

Gardening offers many health benefits. Here are just some of the rewards you can hope to reap from your garden, including information on how many calories are burned when gardening, whether you're looking to exercise in the garden or use gardening as a way to calm your mind.

For expert gardening tips from some of the UK's best-known gardening journalists, visit our gardening tips and advice section

Gardening burns fat

When it comes to burning calories digging and shovelling come top of the list with mowing and weeding not far behind. Spend half an hour doing any of the following activities and expect to use up:

  • Digging and shovelling: 250 calories
  • Lawn mowing: 195 calories
  • Weeding: 105 calories
  • Raking: 100 calories

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Gardening tones you up

Wielding the hoe and strimming the edges are also 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 protects 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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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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