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Gardening as a Way to Get in Shape

Last updated May 19, 2022| Gardening

While usually considered an enjoyable pastime, gardening also provides an opportunity for exercise. With almost as much (if not more) muscle-building as you would get at the gym, it yields a productive return of your time and effort.

You may wonder how gardening could be just as much of a workout as working out. Just think about all the different aspects of preparing a garden. There are holes to make, bags and pots to carry, weeds to pull,… All these activities work all the muscles in your body.

Gardening as a Way to Get in Shape

Gardening vs Gym

My brother and I used to have very different hobbies. He makes it to the gym on a daily basis, but I’ve never really been interested in working out in a gym. While of course there are benefits to weightlifting like toning muscle or getting cardio exercise, I found that simply lifting heavy weights caused my body undue stress.

But as enthusiastic as he is about lunges or some muscle toning activity, I am about gardening. I work outside improving my garden pretty much every day, and it’s made me quite muscular. Now, I am almost as muscular as my brother. He was surprised when he realized that, since I never lifted a single dumbbell!


Before going out into your garden to work, be sure to stretch. Not only does stretching before gardening reduce the stress that puts on joints in the back, but it will also increase your endurance and keep you from getting tired as quickly. Especially if you’re working outside for longer periods at a time, make sure to take frequent breaks in-between activities.

Ways of Exercising When Gardening

Weeding and pruning are some of the best workouts a gardener can get. With the constant crouching and standing, you will strengthen your legs. In particularly resistant weed cases, you will strengthen your arms because they’ll be put to greater use in excavating them from the ground. When weeding or pruning for more than an hour straight, you will definitely start to feel your muscles burn in your thighs and biceps.

Gardening also provides the option of carrying heavy objects, which is something you will never have to do in a standard gym. While not as effective for most people as lifting weights, it still gives muscles and your bones a chance to get stronger.

One of the most popular ways to get some exercise is with transporting and lifting home goods from stores. You will need to move your bags multiple times between going through checkout, getting them into your car, carrying them to your house, and then distributing them as needed. Even if you don’t make this kind of purchases frequently, it’s a great way to get some exercise in.

Gardening as a Way to Get in Shape

When gardening, you will also be moving forward and backward as well as side to side. This causes a great deal of mobility that is lacking in most workouts. If you have an extensive garden, it’s best to consider getting a wheelbarrow or pram for easier transportation of your soil, plants, tools, and containers.

You will also be getting cardio exercise in the process of gardening. By running back and forth to tend to a plant that requires your attention, you can burn more calories than you would have simply remaining stationary. You will also be getting some cardio exercise from the constant movement required to get your plants into place and preparing the soil for them to grow in. The more you work, the more calories you burn. After just a few hours of gardening, you can accumulate an impressive amount of calories burned – especially if you’re like me and work outside for every hour of sunlight.

Mowing your lawn is a great way to get some physical activity. If you have an older mower that doesn’t self-propelled, just the act of pushing it through the grass will give you more exercise than going to the gym for a few hours. Mowing your yard also works out your chest, arms, back, and shoulders as well as your thighs and butt.

Final Thoughts

If you plan on taking gardening as a way to get in shape or lose weight, I think it won’t disappoint. Be sure to stretch before and after, drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen to prevent dehydration and sunburn.

As long as you take steps to prevent the few negative effects such as pulled muscle, lack of hydration and sunburn, you should be able to have a wonderful time getting in shape and improving your health!

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