Doing yard work may not be on your list of exercises to burn calories, but perhaps it should be. Depending on how much you weigh and the type of work you do, you can burn a decent amount of yard work calories every hour.
The harder you work, the more calories you burn when gardening, digging, raking leaves or doing other yard care activities. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, a person weighing 150 pounds can burn 238 calories per hour while picking fruits or vegetables.
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The exact number of calories burned doing yard work depends on how much you weigh and your level of effort.
Calories Burned Doing Yard Work (per Hour)
Raking, sacking leaves
Mowing lawn (push, power)
Mowing lawn (push, hand)
Planting seedlings, shrubs
Digging, spading dirt
Chopping, splitting wood
Carrying, stacking wood
Laying sod or crushed rock
Shoveling snow by hand
Operating snow blower (walking)
Is Doing Yard Work a Good Workout?
If it's a nice day outside or you just really need to tackle some yard work, you don't need to feel guilty for skipping your gym workout. Here's how yard work activities stack up against common exercises, according to Harvard Health Publishing:
Raking or Sacking Leaves:
- Walking at 3.5 mph
- Tai chi
- Water aerobics
- Hatha yoga
Gardening; Planting Trees; Operating a Snow Blower:
- Moderate calisthenics
- Walking at 4 mph
- Playing badminton
Digging or Spading Dirt; Carrying Wood; Laying Sod:
- Walking at 4.5 mph
- Playing softball
Mowing the Lawn With a Push Mower:
- Low-impact aerobics
- Playing golf (carrying clubs)
Chopping Wood or Shoveling Snow:
- Vigorous weight-lifting
- Stair step machine
Consider Individual Differences
The calculations given for the number of calories burned are not exact. It is likely that your weight varies a bit from that used in the calculations, and people typically do not do yard work at a constant rate.
For example, if you rake the lawn more vigorously than another person, you'll burn more calories than that person in the same amount of time. Use the calculations as a general guide.