Get a Garden Workout

Is it possible to get a workout from weeding? You bet. Trim your flowerbeds and your figure with these fun ideas.
woman gardening
You know why people throw their backs out while doing yard chores? It's hard work! (Plus they're probably not using proper form.) In fact, every year on June 6, state garden clubs and thousands of "aerobic gardeners" across America celebrate National Gardening Exercise Day, encouraging people to do "yard exercise." Want to get in on this fun trend that makes your property look as fab as your body? Jeffrey Restuccio, a gardening and exercise expert, suggests the following tips to get the most out of your gardening workout.

Warm up by stretching your muscles for 5 to 10 minutes before heading out to the garden. Stretch again after 15 to 20 minutes of gardening.

Mix it up. Using a variety of motions at a steady pace, perform a variety the following moves: raking, mowing, weeding, pruning, digging. Alternate between them, every 15 minutes or so.

Bend at the knees not at the waist, especially when lifting heavy items, and use long-handled tools for raking or hoeing to avoid back strain and pain.

Cool down by walking, picking flowers or vegetables or just enjoying the fruits of your "exercise."

Gardening as sport
A recent study compared the amount of energy expended among a number of activities, including gardening. We charted these typical gardening activities against more full-fledged exercises.

Doing this... Uses as much energy as
Watering the lawn or garden Sitting, knitting or sewing
Walking, applying fertilizer to a lawn or seeding a lawnWalking while shopping
Trimming shrubs or trees with a power cutterWalking at a moderate pace
Raking; planting seeds and shrubsLeisurely bicycling
Weeding; cultivating; trimming shrubs and treesHeavy cleaning; golf
Carrying, stacking and hauling branches Playing softball or baseball
Shoveling snow; mowing the lawn with a hand mowerAerobics or swimming

The activity meter
Ready to grab your gardening gloves? Check out the number of activity PointsPlus® values you'll earn with 30 minutes of some classic gardening activities.

Activity PointsPlus values
Digging and spading1-2
Mowing the lawn with a power mower2-3
Planting seedlings; pruning1
Raking 2-3
Shoveling snow3-4