Ever wondered which garden chore burns the most calories? Surprisingly enough, it’s not sitting in your sun lounger looking at the fruit trees growing, but there is no need to hang down from trees with a chainsaw in your hand either in order to burn some calories. Feel free to do home bodyweight workouts or full body HIIT workouts if you want to get fit sooner but gardening can also burn a surprisingly large amount of calories by mowing the lawn and raking garden debris, as it turns out.
Cardio-type workouts, like running and cycling, has long been the most popular option to get fit and stay fit and became even more popular since the lockdown started, especially in the UK and Germany where outdoor workout rules have been a bit looser. Going outside the house for run, however, means you can get contracted with the dreaded c-virus and also, that lawn probably really needs mowing too so by doing garden chores, you can kill two birds with one stone: tidy up the garden and get fit while doing so.
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We did our research and picked our top five choice of gardening chores to help you lose weight faster at home and potentially get you fit(ter) in the process. The below numbers were calculated for an average built men (80 kg/175 lbs), which means that if you are a heavier set than this, you will burn more calories and if you are a woman, a bit less. You can fine tune these numbers using Captain Calculator’s calorie counter here.
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Low effort activities (eg. pulling weeds, planting flowers): up to 300 calories per hour
Do you like pottering in the garden? Planting some herb seeds? Pulling the weed out? Good news: doing this for just an hour can burn up to 300 calories. If you do a few hours of light gardening on Sunday morning, you can have an extra serving of Sunday roast without feeling guilty. Perfect.
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Low effort gardening can induce non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT for short, where we burn calories through other activity than intentional exercise. By introducing more activity throughout the day, you can speed up your metabolism and get rid of that visceral fat easier and quicker. Other NEAT things you can do is brisk walking and taking the stairs.
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Mowing the lawn: up to 350 calories per hour
Who would’ve thought that pushing the lawnmower can burn so many calories? Anyone who knows that doing it requires your glutes, your core, your back and arms to work together in unison. Who needs deadlifts when you mowing the lawn can provide you with a one-move full body workout?
Want to burn even more calories? Switch your electric lawnmower to a manual one and burn an extra 100 calories per hour.
Raking and bagging garden waste: up to 450 calories per hour
After you finished mowing that lawn, you’d better rake all that cut grass into a neat pile and bag it up for collection on Thursday. Or whenever the pensioners on the street put their bags out, they always know the exact date somehow.
This garden activity will be especially popular after summer when the leaves start to fall but we’re sure you can find some more things to rake in the meanwhile.
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Shovelling and digging (moderate effort): up to 500 calories per hour
Shovelling is not easy, we know that for sure. But even moderate effort shovelling, as in moving dirt around or spreading tree bark, can burn quite a lot of calories: up to 500 calories in fact. Be careful and keep your back straight so you won’t hurt your lower back. Or, you know, you can just do this 3-exercise abs and core workout, but shovelling is probably easier and burns more calories too.
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Landscaping: up to 600 calories per hour
Landscaping your garden can burn as many calories as riding a bike at a moderate speed and if that doesn’t blow your mind then nothing will. Moving rocks around, digging up the soil, and uprooting trees is hard work, no wonder landscaping people are so buff.
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