If you want to lose weight, you might think that punishing diet regimes or an expensive gym membership are the main ways forward, but this needn’t be the case. Losing weight can be a fulfilling and pleasurable activity, and you don’t need to go further than your back garden to get the ball rolling.
Gardening to burn calories
Experts reckon that gardening is a really effective way to lose weight, where you could burn between 300-600 calories an hour, depending on the activity you choose and how much effort you put into it.
Simple activities such as watering plants can shed over 60 calories, a spot of weeding can burn over 180 calories, while cutting the lawn with a push mower can slash 243 calories. Even better, if your garden has got hedges, giving them a trim could see you lose more than 400 calories in a single hour. For those who like the idea of making their own compost, not only does it benefit the environment and provide you with free nutrient-rich soil, but you could burn a generous 300 calories in half an hour.
All in all, researchers claim that you could lose one pound per week from doing gardening activities, such as planting, digging and mowing, for about two to three hours. This can be spread out across the week.
Switch the gym for the garden
If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to go to the gym, getting busy in the garden can prove just as effective for melting the calories away. Scientists confirm that doing an hour of intensive activity down the gym is equivalent to three hours of gardening. But, you get the added benefits of being outdoors and immersed in nature when you garden, which also boosts your overall health and wellbeing.
Moreover, gardening works all of the muscle groups in the body, so you can get toned and trim from head to toe. To ensure you maximise the body-busting benefits from gardening, it’s a good idea to carry out a wide range of activities.
Mowing the lawn, especially with a manual mower, works the muscles in the upper body, as well as the legs and buttocks. It’s the ideal alternative to using the treadmill at the gym. On the other hand, if you want to tone the muscles in the shoulders, chest, arms and back, you’d probably opt for a rowing machine if you were a gym-goer. In the garden, however, pick up a rake and gather leaves and debris off the grass for a similar effect.
Fans of cross trainer machines can switch to planting and weeding for similar body benefits, where your arms and shoulders, as well as backside and thighs, will get a great workout from all the bending, squatting and standing up and down.
Weights are a popular addition to any gym, but when you step into the garden, there are plenty of activities that work in similar ways to using weights. Whether you’re lifting bags of compost, heavy pots, shovelling soil or turning compost, these strenuous activities will get muscles into gear and blood pumping around the body.
Just make sure that you don’t overdo it in the garden, particularly to begin with, or you could end up acquiring an injury that could put you out of action for weeks. Always stretch before, during and after your gardening session, to keep muscles flexible.
To lose weight from gardening, you need to get outdoors regularly. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour, around three to five times per week. Vary the activities you carry out for maximum effect. Try to get out in the garden throughout the year. Even in winter, there are jobs you can do to burn calories, such as shovelling snow, raking leaf debris, moving pots, digging new beds, pruning trees and chopping wood.