The five best gardening secrets for 'stay at home' fitness

Gardening is the secret to staying in shape at home

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(Image credit: Future / Kristin Perers)

Forget the gym, hang up your running shoes, put the dumbbells down, there’s a new form of exercise taking over, and if you didn’t know already, it’s been on your doorstep all this time.

That’s right, the green-fingered Brits have been hiding the secret to staying in shape all along – regular gardening.

gardening for exercise

(Image credit: Kristin Perers)

With more time than ever being spent at home, it’s time to put on your gardening gloves and pick up your trowel, as outdoor we reveal 5 gardening secrets to take your fitness to the next level, by simply ticking off gardening jobs from your ‘to-do’ list.

Gardening for exercise tips

From mowing the lawn to planting spring flowers, each activity will be sure to make your heart beat faster and help you reach those recommended 10,000 daily steps.

1. Splitting wood

Coming in at number one spot is the art of splitting wood. Ready to give you the arms of a lumberjack this gardening chore will burn 266 calories in just half an hour. To ensure you don’t throw your back out, remember to bend at the knees and use the power in your legs.

2. Hedge trimming

gardening for exercise

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Often requiring the use of heavier garden equipment, hedge trimming is known to provide a workout which can see up to a whopping 400 calories burned per hour. To put it into perspective, that’s the equivalent to attending an average spin class.

3. Lawn mowing

gardening for exercise

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

If a shorter burst of exercise is what you’re after, then dig out your lawn mower for a quick 35-minute garden spruce-up. A more relaxed form of exercise, pushing your lawn mower for this length of time could see you burn up to 200 calories. That’s earned you a double gin and tonic.

See more: Best lawn mowers – the top rides, according to our team

4. Potting plants

gardening for exercise

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart)

Not only bringing your garden to life, potting plants will do wonders for your mental wellbeing and help provide a lighter form of exercise. One hour’s worth of potting your favourite hyacinths and daffodils will help burn over 260 calories, which is more than taking a Tai Chi class.

5. Raking

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(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

If you have only 17 minutes to spare however, then grab your rake and rid your lawn of twigs and leaves for a quick 63 calorie burner.

It comes as no surprise then that the below activities for an average 185-pound person will burn the following calories, in just half an hour:

  • Planting trees: 200 calories
  • Digging: 222 calories
  • Sacking grass: 178
  • Carrying and stacking wood: 222

So next time you reach for that at-home DVD workout, be sure to place it back and head outdoors to tick off your gardening ‘to-do’ list one exercise at a time.

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.