Why Doing Yard Work Is Good For Your Health

Summer can be a great time to get outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. It also tends to be a busy season for lawn care and gardening, since grass and plants are also taking advantage of longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures to grow faster. Fortunately, keeping your yard in great shape can benefit your body and mind at the same time.

Mowing the lawn can be just another chore to check off your to-do list, or it can replace one moderately intense sweat session at the gym. Mowing the lawn with a regular gas or electric-powered push mower can burn between 250-350 calories per hour (via WebMD). And the benefits go beyond just burning calories. One study of the health and lifestyle behaviors of people in the United States showed that just 10-59 minutes of physical activity a week, including gardening, reduced mortality by 18% (via British Journal of Sports Medicine). Want an even bigger metabolism and cardio boost? Try mowing with a manual push mower instead (via Livestrong).

Yard work gives you more than just physical benefits

If it's a core or upper-body workout you're looking for, try leaf blowing. The weight of the leaf blower combined with walking around and controlling its movement helps build muscle and burn calories (via Well and Good). Better yet, sweep or rake leaves and grass clippings by hand to add in leg strength from squatting and standing repeatedly. Your joints and muscles will be challenged by all of the functional movements necessary for gardening. Bending, kneeling, and digging all help those smaller muscle groups and larger joints stay in optimal shape. And gardening has been shown to burn between 200-400 calories per hour (via WebMD).

And if you're not sold on doing yard work and gardening to boost your physical health, consider the mental benefits of being outside. Gardening has been linked to a decrease in anxiety and depression, as well as boosting quality of life (via Better Homes and Gardens). Elderly people who garden may feel less stress and could even have less need for certain medications.

If you do choose to work outside in your yard, be sure to take proper precautions like wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated. So the next time your garden is starting to get a little too overgrown, put on your workout clothes and get to weeding. Your body and your yard will thank you.