I am often asked, "how many calories are burned while gardening?" This is not a simple question as there is little research and gardening techniques vary widely. Most don't garden like I do, following the aerobic model and thinking in terms of repetitions and sets, exaggerated range of motion, switching between a right and left-handed stance and changing tasks and motion often (now, there's a mouthful !) 

Below are some estimates, derived from a variety of sources. Also, note that many sources simply borrow from one another and even I have been quoted many times as an "expert."  The simple fact is that gardening can be great exercise, and done properly, can burn as many calories as more traditional exercises such as walking, running and cycling.

Calories Burned During Common Gardening Activities

The following chart gives the calories burned during 30 minutes of the activity for a 180-pound person. Generally, a person who weighs more will burn more calories than the amount shown here. Likewise, a person weighing less burns fewer calories.

Typical calories burned in 30 minutes of:

Sleeping 36 72
Sitting quietly 40 80
Watering lawn or garden 61 122
Mowing lawn (riding) 101 202
Trimming shrubs (power) 142 284
Raking 162 324
Bagging leaves 162 324
Planting seedlings 162 324
Mowing (push with motor) 182 364
Planting trees 182 364
Snow thrower (walking) 182 364
Trimming shrubs (manual) 182 364
Weeding 182 364
Clearing land 202 404
Digging, spading, tilling 202 404
Laying sod 202 404
General gardening 202 404
Chopping wood 243 486
Gardening with heavy power tools 243 486
Mowing lawn (push mower) 243 486
Shoveling snow 243 486
Double digging 344 688
Shoveling heavy snow 364 728

Information above from an article by Dan Hickey, a former editor of National Gardening. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/gardenexercise


Calories burned while you garden:

These are for a 180 pound man. If you weigh less, you'll burn fewer calories.
30 minutes Per Hour
Sitting quietly-40 80

Water a lawn or garden -61
122
Riding mower-101
202
Trimming shrubs-142
284
Raking-162
324
Bagging leaves-162
324
Planting seedlings-162
324
Mowing with gas mower-182
364
Weeding-182
364
Gardening with heavy power tools-243
486
Mowing lawn with a push mower-243 486

 

 


Calories Expended During Certain Activities:

ACTIVITY* Calories expended in 30 minutes  Male (175 lbs) Calories expended in 30 minutes  Female (135 lbs)
Biking 12-13.9 mph (moderate effort) 334 258
Circuit Training  334 258
Stretching, hatha yoga 167 129
Dancing - general 188 145
Dancing - ballet, modern 251 193
House Cleaning - vigorous (mop, wash car)  188 145
House Cleaning - light (dusting, vacuuming) 104 81
Playing w/ kids moderate - walk/run 167 129
Gardening 209 161
Mowing lawn - Hand mower 251 193
Running - 6 mph 418 322
Jogging 292 225
Basketball - Game 334 258
Children's Games 209 161
Football 334 258
Frisbee 125 97
Horseback Riding 167 129
Skating 292 225
Soccer 292 225
Softball/Baseball 209 161
Tennis 292 225
Hiking 251 193
Walking - 4 mph, level surface 167 129
Walking - leisure 146 113
Canoeing/Rowing - moderate 292 225
Kayaking 209 161
Swimming laps freestyle - moderate 334 258

* Data from ACSM Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Third Edition

 


For more information, my books, Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way, is available!

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Home Page This page updated April 23, 2008