Which garden chore burns the most calories? You CAN get fit with gardening

You thought hitting the gym was the best way to get fit fast at home? You might want to try mowing the lawn instead

Which garden chore burns the most calories
(Image credit: Husqvarna)

Ever wondered which garden chore burns the most calories? Surprisingly enough, it's not sitting in your sun lounger looking at the fruit trees growing, but there is no need to hang down from trees with a chainsaw in your hand either in order to burn some calories. Feel free to do home bodyweight workouts or full body HIIT workouts if you want to get fit (opens in new tab) sooner but gardening can also burn a surprisingly large amount of calories by mowing the lawn and raking garden debris, as it turns out.

Cardio-type workouts, like running and cycling, has long been the most popular option to get fit and stay fit and became even more popular since the lockdown started, especially in the UK and Germany where outdoor workout rules have been a bit looser. Going outside the house for run, however, means you can get contracted with the dreaded c-virus and also, that lawn probably really needs mowing too so by doing garden chores, you can kill two birds with one stone: tidy up the garden and get fit while doing so.

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We did our research and picked our top five choice of gardening chores to help you lose weight faster at home and potentially get you fit(ter) in the process. The below numbers were calculated for an average built men (80 kg/175 lbs), which means that if you are a heavier set than this, you will burn more calories and if you are a woman, a bit less. You can fine tune these numbers using Captain Calculator's calorie counter  here (opens in new tab).

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(Image credit: Honda)

Low effort activities (eg. pulling weeds, planting flowers): up to 300 calories per hour

Do you like pottering in the garden? Planting some herb seeds? Pulling the weed out? Good news: doing this for just an hour can burn up to 300 calories. If you do a few hours of light gardening on Sunday morning, you can have an extra serving of Sunday roast without feeling guilty. Perfect.

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Low effort gardening can induce non-exercise activity thermogenesis (opens in new tab), or NEAT for short, where we burn calories through other activity than intentional exercise. By introducing more activity throughout the day, you can speed up your metabolism and get rid of that visceral fat easier and quicker. Other NEAT things you can do is brisk walking and taking the stairs.

(Image credit: Greenworks)

Mowing the lawn: up to 350 calories per hour

Who would've thought that pushing the lawnmower can burn so many calories? Anyone who knows that doing it requires your glutes, your core, your back and arms to work together in unison. Who needs deadlifts (opens in new tab) when you mowing the lawn can provide you with a one-move full body workout?

Want to burn even more calories? Switch your electric lawnmower to a manual one and burn an extra 100 calories per hour.

(Image credit: Spear & Jackson)

Raking and bagging garden waste: up to 450 calories per hour

After you finished mowing that lawn, you'd better rake all that cut grass into a neat pile and bag it up for collection on Thursday. Or whenever the pensioners on the street put their bags out, they always know the exact date somehow.

This garden activity will be especially popular after summer when the leaves start to fall but we're sure you can find some more things to rake in the meanwhile.

(Image credit: Gardena)

Shovelling and digging (moderate effort): up to 500 calories per hour

Shovelling is not easy, we know that for sure. But even moderate effort shovelling, as in moving dirt around or spreading tree bark, can burn quite a lot of calories: up to 500 calories in fact. Be careful and keep your back straight so you won't hurt your lower back. Or, you know, you can just do this 3-exercise abs and core workout (opens in new tab), but shovelling is probably easier and burns more calories too.

(Image credit: Husqvarna)

Landscaping: up to 600 calories per hour

Landscaping your garden can burn as many calories as riding a bike at a moderate speed and if that doesn't blow your mind then nothing will. Moving rocks around, digging up the soil, and uprooting trees is hard work, no wonder landscaping people are so buff. 

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Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other content creators in the past, such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab). When he isn't working out, he loves roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment, including microphones, cameras and more.