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Gardening as Exercise

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Get your workout on while digging in the garden!

With the new year in full swing, it's time to really focus on dropping those extra pounds added during the holiday season. There are a host of ways to work out, and, believe it or not, gardening is exercise. Burn extra calories while getting your hands dirty in the garden!


With the new year in full swing, it's time to really focus on dropping those extra pounds added during the holiday season. There are a host of ways to work out, and, believe it or not, gardening is exercise. Burn extra calories while getting your hands dirty in the garden!

What's great about gardening is that you can get your exercise while doing something, as opposed to doing nothing but walk on a treadmill or move to an aerobics video. Gardening is also an outdoor activity, so you get to enjoy fresh air and sunshine as you get fit!

If you've ever raked, shoveled or weeded, you've probably felt the burn as your muscles are worked through these gardening tasks.  Be prepared to work to burn calories---you're going to need to do more than just putter around the garden to see any effects. Try to keep activity equivalent to that of a brisk walk. Regular gardening chores can burn 120 to 200 calories every half hour, depending how hard you're working. Add up the hours each week you spend in the garden and before you know it, thousands of calories are expended!

The most strenuous gardening activities are the most effective calorie-burners. Digging, shoveling and turning the compost pile are the money activities--burning about 300 calories every 30 minutes. Lighter chores, like weeding and raking, can have greater effects if you exaggerate movements to work out key muscle groups. Take extra-long strides while raking or tighten your glutes while bending to weed or transplant. Remember to stretch first!

Replacing power gardening tools with manual tools can also increase the amount of exercise you get in your yard and garden. Use a push mower instead of a riding lawn mower or carry watering cans to the garden instead of just pulling the hose over.

Excercising while gardening is a perfect marriage for a healthy lifestyle inside and out. While you get your exercise tending to your crops, eating the fruits of your vegetable garden labors is an easy way to maintain a healthy, low-calorie diet.
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