Why Gardening Is A Better Workout Than You Think

If you've ever felt guilty for skipping your spin class in favor of being out beneath the sun in your backyard garden, then we have great news for you. All that raking, digging, weeding, planting, and mowing is a workout in itself. It's time we give those with a green thumb the credit they deserve in the world of fitness. 

According to consumer lifestyle website T3, mowing the lawn burns an average of 350 calories per hour and raking leaves and bagging garden waste burns up to 450 calories per hour. Oftentimes, that sweat soaked T-shirt you have on while digging at a moderate intensity over the course of an hour, is a sign of having shed an average of 500 calories. In addition to burning calories, gardening has also proven to be a full-body workout requiring flexibility, strength, and endurance. The movements needed to keep your rose beds looking fresh activate your glutes, your core, your back, and your arms to work together simultaneously.

The mental benefits alone are worth picking up a shovel

If you've never gardened before, or consider it a hobby reserved just for the elderly, then we urge you to purchase a pair of well-fitting gardening gloves and give it a try. Jeff Restuccio, author of "Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way," tells WebMD, "If you think double digging (going down a foot, turning the soil over, then down another foot, bringing that soil to the top) isn't exercise, you haven't tried it."

Sure, gardening can be a great physical activity. But like many other workouts, it has loads of mental benefits as well. According to a 2013 report published in the Mental Health Journal, gardening has been linked to stress reduction, the lessening of depression or anxiety symptoms, and mood enhancement (via Thrive).

Whether providing you with fresh fruits and vegetables, or just giving you something beautiful to admire, gardening provides us with a sense of accomplishment. With all of the physical and mental benefits this activity provides, we hope you never again feel guilty about choosing to garden instead of going to the gym.