Male gardener working hard pruning a plant
(Image credit: SeventyFour)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate exercise. For gardeners, this is no problem. When it comes to exercise, gardening and yard work raises your heart rate, builds muscle and flexibility, and burns calories. 

How Many Calories Do I Burn Gardening? 

Among the many health benefits of gardening is that it can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by burning calories. The number of calories burned gardening depend on several factors, like your weight and the intensity of a particular activity. 

Here are some examples of yard and garden activities and the number of calories they burn in 30 minutes: 

  • Digging – 150 to 197
  • Planting – 135 to 177
  • Weeding – 138 to 166
  • Push mowing – 150 to 200
  • Raking – 120 to 157

You can increase the calorie burn by working faster and by tackling jobs without power tools. Use hand clippers, push mowers, and rakes instead of blowers to get more out of your garden workout. 

Is Yard Work Good Exercise?

Yard work and gardening burns calories, but it’s good exercise for other reasons too. Gardening improves flexibility and joint mobility and strength. It builds strength in your muscles and gets your heart rate up, providing a cardiovascular workout. 

The health benefits of regular exercise, including yard work, are numerous. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Physical activity also slows bone loss in older adults. 

Gardening is Good for Mental Health Too

Exercise is good for physical health, which in turns boosts mental health and mood. Gardening is a particularly good form of exercise for mental health. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride in a good day’s work. 

Being outdoors is another element of gardening and yard work that improves mental health. Spending time in green, natural spaces reduces stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. 

Gardening burns calories, yes, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can feel good about doing your yard and garden chores in more ways than one. Just remember to work outside safely by avoiding overdoing it, drinking plenty of fluids, and protecting yourself from the sun. 

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.