Going out to the gym or doing cardio and strength workouts at home isn't for everyone. However, outside of this, there aren't always many other options to make sure you reach your recommended exercise goals. That's where gardening comes in. If done in the right way, gardening can actually count as exercise. Whether you have a big or small garden, or you grab yourself an allotment, doing some gardening can be a really rewarding workout.


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Does Gardening Count as Exercise?

person mowing the grass outdoors

Going out into your garden and moving some plants around isn't going to give you a solid workout. When we say gardening counts as exercise, we mean the full lot; digging, mowing the lawn, lifting and moving heavy pots and so on. Anything that makes you work up a sweat.

In 1 hour, and depending on your weight, you could burn up to 600 calories:

  • Shovelling snow: 400-600 calories per hour
  • Heavy yard work (landscaping, moving rocks, hauling dirt): 400-600 calories per hour
  • Raking and bagging leaves: 350-450 calories per hour
  • Gardening: pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc.: 200-400 calories per hour
  • Mowing the lawn: 250-350 calories per hour

That's not saying the garden isn't good for you, though. Going out and doing some light gardening suits you, which is still good for your mental wellness. Or turn your garden into the place where you do actual workouts instead of doing them inside somewhere.

How Can I Turn Gardening into a Workout?

person knelt digging holes in soil and planting flowers

General garden work can give you that solid workout that hitting the gym can, but obviously, that only lasts as long as the jobs are there to do. You aren't going to be landscaping or mowing the lawn every day or even once a week, so how can you turn the regular gardening jobs into a workout?

Firstly, digging up plants is your best place to start, and this is s good one if you are using your garden or allotment for growing vegetables as there will always be plenty to do. A proper shovel that you can use standing will get you the best results as you can engage the muscles in your arms, legs and core digging.

Mowing is a good workout too. Make sure you've got a hand mower, and get cutting that grass. You can burn up to 200 calories in half an hour just mowing the grass, depending on if your mower is powered by electricity or not.

Planting weeding can be great too. If you are lifting heavy pots around, you're essentially doing a strength workout and building those muscles in your arms. If you're knelt planting or weeding, turn this into squats or stretches whilst you're moving around. As long as you're moving and breaking a sweat, your burning calories.

What Are The Benefits?

someone trimming a large plant outdoors

There are so many benefits to gardening. Getting outside and looking after that patch of space that you have can really benefit you physically, making you fitter and stronger. It can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol in the body, along with helping to prevent several health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. Just being in the garden can be good for you mentally, so why not make it good for you physically. Especially if you are older and looking to keep active without working too much, gardening is the perfect option.

So the answer is, yes, gardening does count as exercise. Do it right, and you've got yourself a workout whilst also doing something enjoyable. Get out into your garden or allotment (or get one if you don't have one) and get exercising!


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.