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. 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 has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening 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 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Garden Your Way to Health

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

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