If you’ve ever wondered why your gardening grandma is in such good shape, look no further than her favorite hobby for the answer. Gardening provides a wealth of health benefits, offering both cardiovascular and resistance exercise that works all major muscle groups. Learn more about Grandma’s workout: why gardening counts as exercise.
A Blossoming Cardiovascular Workout
Gardening isn’t all about digging and planting—there’s a substantial amount of walking, squatting, and stretching involved, all of which can get your heart pumping. Activities such as raking, mowing, and weeding provide low-impact cardiovascular exercise, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart.
If only numbers will convince you, consider this: pushing a lawnmower burns roughly 250–300 calories per hour. Weeding engages the entire body and can burn around 200–400 calories per hour. And when the bloom is done and autumn’s crisp weather rolls around, raking leaves for just 30 minutes can burn up to 150 calories!
When Grandma is out there digging, mulching, mowing, and pruning, she’s reaping the benefits of a full-body workout, and you can too. But because gardening is a sweaty activity—especially in the summer—gardeners should consider getting a sweat-diverting strip to wear underneath their hats. These will keep the wearer comfortable and prevent sweat from stinging eyes and blurring vision.
From Seedlings to Strong Muscles
Building muscle mass and maintaining functional movement are especially important as we age, and gardening provides a great resistance workout. The various activities involved in caring for a garden—from digging holes and shoveling soil to lifting heavy bags of mulch—engage all major muscle groups.
Gardening can boost upper body strength. Pruning, raking, and other similar tasks work the arms, shoulders, and back. Likewise, bending, twisting, and carrying heavy loads during gardening activities engage and strengthen core muscles. As for lower body strength, squatting, lunging, and maintaining balance while working in the garden all work the legs, hips, and glutes.
Gardening: a Workout for All Ages
One of the greatest benefits of gardening as a form of exercise is its accessibility to people of all ages. It’s an excellent way to keep older parents engaged in physical activity, as it can easily adapt to their mobility and skill levels. At the same time, gardening presents an opportunity for quality family time, as you can bond with your children while staying active.
A Blooming Path to Overall Health
Beyond the physical benefits, gardening offers numerous additional perks that contribute to good health. Spending time outdoors, soaking up vitamin D from the sun, and enjoying the therapeutic effects of working with nature all contribute to improved mental wellness and better quality of life. As an added bonus, growing your own vegetables encourages healthier eating habits for the entire family.
It’s about time we give gardening the recognition it deserves as a heart-healthy, muscle-toning activity—not just Grandma’s workout. Gardening counts as exercise! With its numerous benefits for people of all ages, it’s time to grab your gloves and join Grandma in the garden!