The Garden Workout

April 23, 2002

Sick of a sweaty, smelly gym? Can?t stand the queues for the treadmill? Well ? it?s time to grab a rake, some SPF 20 and hit the garden. It might seem a surprise but doing some gardening can actually burn calories and definitely burn away any pent up stress. Gardening is just a hobby but it really is also an excellent way to stay physically fit. Now you don?t have to climb Palm Trees to remove dead fronds or dig a trench either, the moderate physical activities (pruning, digging, weeding) that are involved in gardening will burn calories faster than you think. Also for most people just being outdoors will help to reduce stress levels and increase your general mood.

We were really quite amazed at how many calories you can burn. Have a look at the following guide for an approximate calorie guide on how much you can burn in a 30 minute gardening session:

    • Digging ? 200 cals


  • Planting trees ? 180 cals



  • Pruning shrubs ? 180 cals



  • Raking ? 160 cals



  • Turning compost ? 250 cals



  • Weeding ? 180 cals



Before you begin make sure you warm up and stretch your muscles before you start gardening. Always perform simple stretches so you avoid any injuries. Don?t forget to also wear sunscreen with a factor SPF of 30 even if it isn?t sunny. You definitely will still burn in Australia even when it?s cloudy.

Start with easy tasks, such as pruning and wedding. Gradually build up to digging and raking.

Getting fit in the garden is a lot like working out in the gym. Vary your activities so you don?t get bored or so it doesn?t become repetitive. Include a variety of actions such as digging, weeding, pruning then digging again. Alternate them every 5 mins so you are working different parts of your body.

Make sure you protect your back so always bend from the knees when you rake or hose the garden. When you are lifting bags of compost or large pot plants make sure you definitely bend your knees. If you have a bag of compost ? do some arm lifts while you?re at it.

Remember to let your arms and legs do the work when you?re mowing, raking etc. Don?t forget to hold your stomach in as well.

Learn to pace yourself. Garden for around 15 minutes then do some stretches then start again.

Always have a bottle of water around and keep drinking as you would with any other type of physical activity.

Don?t get obsessed and spend a whole day gardening. Always space out the work that needs to be done in the garden. You will get the best out of it if you do two to three shorter sessions every week.

One of the best tips for relief after a day of gardening is to take a cool down walk or lie on the grass and do some stretches.

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