Springtime is upon us and many of us are looking forward to getting out in the sunshine and planting our beautiful gardens. Is gardening considered exercising? If you have spent all day in the garden or yard, you feel as though you have put in a full body workout, but have you? It all depends on the particular gardening task you are doing. Standing and watering probably will not cause your heart rate to increase but digging, pulling, and pushing the wheelbarrow will. Like any other form of exercise, you must be active for at least 30 minutes to receive a benefit. According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to "moderate cardiovascular exercise." Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. The calories burned during 30 minutes of digging is 150 to 197 calories. Thirty minutes of planting burns from 135 to 177 calories and weeding burns 138 to 166 calories. Push mowing for thirty minutes burns from 150 to 200 calories and raking burns 120 to 157 calories.
Gardening can provide many health benefits including increasing your flexibility, strengthening your joints, decreasing your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of diabetes and slowing osteoporosis. Gardening is just one way to promote activity when you otherwise might be sitting. Time passes quickly and before you know it, you have been actively moving and exercising for 60 minutes. It is important to remember to start slowly if you are not used to much exertion. For your comfort and safety and to protect your back and knees use a cushioned pad under your knees for added support when kneeling and avoid sitting on your heels. Keep your back straight and stand up and stretch your legs every 10 minutes. Use a long-handled shovel or spade that is lightweight and do not overload it. Bend at the knees and hips when picking up tools.
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture