Garden Your Way to Health


It seems pretty logical that gardening burns calories. It is, after all, a physical activity. Even leafing through a seed catalog*, my favorite winter sport, burns more calories than just watching TV. But how does gardening rate compared to other physical activities?

*Consider it as Reading in the table below.

Actually, gardening comes out in the middle range: it’s a good, average exercise, easily the equivalent to many light training and sports activities.

Here are a few statistics on the subject taken from research from the Harvard Medical School.

Calories burned in 30-minute activities
Daily Life 125-pound person 155-pound person 185-pound person
Sleeping 19 23 28
Watching TV 23 28 33
Reading: sitting 34 42 50
Computer work 41 51 61
Planting seedlings, shrubs 120 149 178
Raking Lawn 120 149 178
General gardening 135 167 200
Mowing lawn 135 167 200
Planting trees 135 167 200
Weeding 139 172 205
Bowling 90 112 133
Curling 120 149 178
Walking (moderate) 120 149 178
Aerobics 120 149 178
Dancing 165 205 244
Bicycling (moderate) 240 298 355
Swimming 300 372 444
Running (moderate) 375 465 555

So what are you waiting for? Lose a few pounds by getting out and gardening!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. After studies at the University of Toronto and Laval University where he obtained his B.A. in modern languages in 1978, he succeeded in combining his language skills with his passion for gardening in a novel career as a garden writer and lecturer. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He is a regular contributor to and horticultural consultant for Fleurs, Plantes, Jardins garden magazine and has written for many other garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 50 other titles in English and French. He can be seen in Quebec on French-language television and was notably a regular collaborator for 7 years on the TV shows Fleurs et Jardins and Salut Bonjour Weekend. He is the President of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. An avid proponent of garden tourism, he has lead garden tours throughout Canada and to the gardens of over 30 countries over the last 30 years. He presently resides in Quebec City, Quebec.

2 comments on “Garden Your Way to Health

  1. And, this doesn’t even mention the mental health benefit. 🙂

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