Gardening benefits: Does gardening count as exercise?

Anton Du Beke discusses gardening with his children

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Scientists and health professionals constantly champion runs or regular trips to the gym as the ideal form of exercise. They promote fat-busting and keep the body in top shape, but not everyone has the option. Fortunately, there are other ways to get a good dose of daily activity, and some people need look no further than their own property.

Does gardening count as exercise?

Gardening is a little more than just growing flowers and crops, as it has a slew of benefits.

For one, people can grow food and even medicinal products, helping keep them full and healthy.

They also promote an active lifestyle and do indeed qualify as daily exercise.

In 2014, South Korean researchers studied 15 college-age students to complete gardening tasks on two occasions.

The range of tasks they completed ranged from digging and hoeing to weeding, watering and sowing seeds.

All participants wore heart rate, oxygen and calorie monitors for the duration.

Researchers discovered the range of sanctioned activities qualified as moderate to high-intensity physical activity.

For reference, moderate-intensity activity gets people moving fast or strenuously enough to burn off six times more energy per minute than they would when stationary.

High-intensity cardiovascular activity spikes the heart rate above 75 percent of someone’s average maximum for ten minutes or more.

Many of the completed activities ranged in their effects, however.

The most strenuous activities included digging or raking.

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The least included watering and sowing, but these still had clear physical benefits.

The high physical requirements of gardening also make it a substitute for the gym in terms of weight loss.

Experts have categorised traditional gardening chores into how many calories they burn.

People who spend time tending to their plants and soil could burn between 100 to 250 calories per session.

Experts have concluded hourly burn rates from the following activities:

  • Landscaping, hauling dirt: 400to 600 calories
  • Digging and shovelling: 200 to 400 calories
  • Mowing the lawn: 250 to 350 calories
  • Weeding: 105 calories
  • Raking: 100 calories

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