Does Gardening Count as Exercise and Physical Activity?

Families, Food and Fitness November 14, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF
picture of young boy working in the garden

Gardening is a great way to not only enjoy some fresh air, but to get some exercise and increase your physical activity, too!

Gardening activities, such as pulling weeds, removing rocks, digging, planting, spreading compost, cultivating, trimming trees and shrubs, and raking requires you to expend energy (burn calories). You may think of gardening as a fun activity or a way to grow food for your family. While this is true, gardening is also a good way to get physical activity. Physical activity can help strengthen bones and joints, lower blood pressure, and help manage stress. Gardening is a fun, creative, and healthy activity with positive health benefits.

Activity (30 minutes for 150 lb person) Energy Expenditure (kcal)
Digging/pulling weeds, removing rocks 200-250 kcal
Trimming trees and shrubs 150-170 kcal
Mowing (using push reel mowers) 200-230 kcal
Raking 120-150 kcal
Swimming (slow to fast) 250-340 kcal
Walking (slow to fast) 150-230 kcal

Reference: William D McArdle, Frank Katch, Victor L Katch, Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) (2001)


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.