With the change of seasons comes beautiful fall foliage and — you guessed it — raking. Besides clearing out your leaf-covered lawn, yard work is a great source of physical activity. And here are the calories burned raking leaves (based on your weight) to prove it.
Benefits of Raking Leaves
Raking isn't just a good way to move your body. Per the University of Minnesota, clearing your lawn comes with a host of benefits for your yard, too, such as:
- It can encourage grass growth in the spring
- It prevents snow mold diseases in your plants
- It prevents turf damage from animals like mice and voles
Calories Burned Raking Leaves
The amount of calories burned raking depends on factors like your weight, the intensity of the activity and how long you do yard work.
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According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), here's an estimate of how many calories people with the following weights burn during an hour of yard work, like raking:
- 100 pounds: 181 calories
- 125 pounds: 226 calories
- 150 pounds: 272 calories
- 175 pounds: 317 calories
- 200 pounds: 362 calories
- 225 pounds: 408 calories
- 250 pounds: 453 calories
- 275 pounds: 498 calories
- 300 pounds: 544 calories
But remember that these numbers are just estimates — for instance, if you rigorously rake leaves, you may burn more calories than if you rake lightly or take frequent breaks.
Regular activity — including raking the leaves — is an important component of any weight-loss endeavor. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help you create the recommended daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories to help you lose weight at the safe and sustainable pace of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Does Raking Leaves Count as Exercise?
In short, yes.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity per week (or 75 minutes of intense cardio). And raking leaves falls into that moderate category, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Other moderate-intensity yard activities besides raking leaves include:
- Light digging or shoveling
- Planting trees
- Trimming plants
- Hauling branches
- Stacking wood
- Mowing the lawn
- Shoveling light snow
Other Moderate-Intensity Activities
Whether or not you have yard work to finish, here are some other moderate-intensity outdoor activities that can help you meet the recommended weekly exercise guidelines, per the CDC:
- Horseback riding
How Raking Leaves Stacks Up to Other Activity
So, how do the calories burned while raking leaves compare to other common activities?
According to the ACE, here's how many calories you'll burn during an hour of the following activities, based on your weight:
Calories Burned During Common Activities (Per Hour)
Walking (moderate pace)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "General Physical Activities Defined by Level of Intensity"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition"
- American Council on Exercise: "Tools & Calculators"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics"
- University of Minnesota: "Good Question: Do you really need to rake all those leaves?"