You can burn more than 51,000 calories a year in the garden – here’s how…

People are burning a whopping 51,428 calories a year in the garden, according to a new study.

Research commissioned by Argos found that the average green-fingered adult spends almost five more hours a week working out, compared to non-gerdeners.

Gardening can have a great impact on fitness, wellbeing and even sleep, the study found.

Gardening is good for wellbeing (Thinkstock/PA)
Gardening is good for wellbeing (Thinkstock/PA)

Some 78% of regular gardeners claim it reduces their stress levels and 80% report better nights in the land of nod. It also found the average green-fingered perosn can burn 632 more calories (compared with non-gardeners) per month.

Gardening expert David Domoney, who’s partnered with Argos to develop a Recommended Daily Allowance for gardening, of 30 minutes a day, says: “Most people enjoy working in their garden, because it gives them a mental boost.

“Digging, tilling [breaking up the top layer of soil] and planting can be extremely therapeutic, and gives people a chance to think while working outside, which is enjoyable in its own right. But we were surprised to see just how much physical exertion it takes to do certain garden tasks, particularly things like pushing a lawnmower or digging.

So, which jobs burn the most calories?

1. Mowing the lawn

Sweat it out mowing the lawn (Thinkstock/PA)
Sweat it out mowing the lawn (Thinkstock/PA)

Pushing a mower up and down the lawn for 35 minutes can use up 200 calories.

2. Weeding

Workout with weeding (thinkstock/PA)
Workout with weeding (thinkstock/PA)

Pulling up stubborn weeds for 35 minutes can burn 158 calories.

3. Digging

Digging is a good way to work up a sweat (Thinkstock/PA)
Digging is a good way to work up a sweat (Thinkstock/PA)

Digging is a great cardio workout and an excellent way to de-stress. You can burn up to 250 calories an hour when digging heavy soil (but don’t overdo it if you have a bad back).

4. Raking

Use your muscles to rake moss off the lawn (Thinkstock/PA)
Use your muscles to rake moss off the lawn (Thinkstock/PA)

Raking is vital to let your lawn and plants breathe – and it’ll work your upper body, and burns around 120 calories in 30 minutes.

Different jobs exercise different muscles

(Great Little Garden/PA)
(Great Little Garden/PA)

Phil McCann, founder of Great Little Garden (, offers the following tips to avoid injury…


Just like all exercise, warm-up before launching yourself into an intensive calorie-burning session. It’s so easy to pull a back muscle on a cold, spring morning by grabbing the spade and plunging in deep. Stretches work best – start gently with whatever exercise you do, working up a sweat as you warm-up.

Start with a plan

Make a plan (Hannah Stephenson/PA)
Make a plan (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

In a conventional gym, you will have a workout plan. In the garden, plan to weed a bed and turn the compost, or dig over a veg plot and plant up a border. Plans focus the mind.

Use the right tools

Use the right secateurs (Hannah Stephenson/PA)
Use the right secateurs (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Have the correct tools for the job you are doing. It will ease the strain on backs, arms, wrists and knees. Secateurs are great for cutting smaller branches, but loppers are the thing for thicker ones. Petrol mowers make light work of the lawn but for exercise purposes, think about a manual push version.

Don’t overdo it

Pain in any joints is your body telling you to have a think about what you are doing!

More on this topic

Baptisia an eye-catcher at Bloom

A second bite at the cherry: Your guide to a valuable fruit

Lethal weapons that are pick of the bunch

Build a relationship with nature: Sow a love for gardening

More in this Section

How to create 3 easy but awesome braided hairstyles for summer

Darina Allen: Cooking with gooseberries... The forgotten fruit

What next for Madonna?

Restaurant review: The most exciting Irish restaurant opening this decade

Latest Showbiz

Glenda Jackson to make ‘long-awaited’ return to TV screens

Rob Delaney: My Elvis role was cut from Elton John movie Rocketman

More From The Irish Examiner