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Grow a healthier you: How gardening can help you lose weight

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Most people think that hitting the gym or running for miles are the only ways to get healthy and lose weight, but what if I told you there was a way to do it with flowers?

From burning calories to improving your overall mood, there are lots of ways that gardening can help you slim down and get fit.

And the best part? You’ll have beautiful flowers to show off along with a healthier lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at how rolling up your sleeves in the garden can shrink your waistline.

6 ways gardening helps you lose weight

Before you get confused and think why is this gardener telling me how to exercise… I asked my own personal trainer for help with this article. I always thought gardening was a great form of exercise. Now we can all know why.

1. Gardening burns calories

One of the biggest benefits of gardening is that it burns calories.

Gardening requires energy and effort, both of which burn calories. Depending on the activity, you can burn anywhere from 100-400 calories per hour while gardening.

That means that even a few hours spent working in your garden could significantly contribute to your weight loss goals. Plus, physical activity will help tone muscles — a major bonus when it comes to achieving a leaner physique.

The key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you take in. Spending extra time in the garden while watching what you eat is a great way to lose weight.

Activities like digging, planting, raking, and mowing can be excellent cardiovascular exercises that provide both physical and mental health benefits. Not only will your garden look great after all of your hard work, but you’ll be feeling great too!

2. Gardening gets you out in the sun

One of the most beneficial aspects of gardening is that it gets you outside and into the sun.

We all know how important it is to get enough Vitamin D from the sun and doing so is easier when you’re out in your garden.

Vitamin D can also help with weight loss. So put on some sunscreen and get out there.

3. Gardening helps you eat better

Eating better is the key to any weight-loss plan. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you can make sure that what goes into your meals is fresh, farm-to-table quality.

Growing your food gives you control over what goes into it; no added sugars or preservatives. This not only aids in weight loss but also provides other health benefits like reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels.

Plus, when you get creative with cooking recipes with homegrown ingredients, mealtime becomes a fun experience instead of a chore.

4. Gardening helps you maintain good posture and balance

Whether it’s carrying heavy bags of soil and compost or bending over to tend your plants, getting into (and staying in) a good posture while in the garden helps build strength and endurance while also helping improve your posture when you’re out of the garden.

Similarly, activities like digging holes and moving around lawn furniture help improve your balance as well as flexibility — both essential components for overall fitness and weight loss success.

5. Gardening improves mental health

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors reduces stress levels and improves overall happiness levels — 2 things that are essential for successful weight loss efforts.

Plus, getting out into nature provides a much-needed break from everyday life where we’re often overstimulated by screens and technology.

So take some time each week to enjoy what nature has to offer. You may be surprised at how much better you feel after only a few hours in the garden. I am. Although my family thinks I spend more than just a few hours in the garden.

6. Gardening is a low-impact form of exercise

When done properly, most garden activities are low-impact exercises. This means that they are easy on your joints and bones, making them ideal for people who need an exercise option that won’t put too much strain or pressure on their bodies.

Low-impact exercises like gardening are especially beneficial for seniors or anyone with joint pain or mobility issues as they provide the opportunity to stay active without risking injury.

Gardening isn't just about growing beautiful plants; it's also about taking care of yourself, too.

By burning calories and improving your posture and balance, gardening can be a great way to shed extra pounds while improving your mental health along the way.

Whether your goal is to lose 5 pounds or 50, put on some gloves and grab your trowel. With these tips under your belt (a belt that soon won’t fit!), you're sure to see amazing results in no time.

Please note that it’s best to ask a professional personal trainer or your doctor before you start any exercise or diet program.

Your gardening + fitness questions answered

I asked a few gardening friends of mine for their top questions relating to gardening and weight loss. And then I asked my favorite personal trainer for help. I hope these answers can help you on your fitness journey, too.

Is gardening as good as walking for exercise?

Gardening is a good form of exercise because it involves physical activity that helps to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. It also increases your heart rate, which provides cardiovascular benefits.

However, the specific benefits you get from gardening will depend on the type and intensity of the activity you’re doing. For example, activities such as digging, raking, and hoeing can provide a moderate to vigorous level of intensity, while activities such as planting seeds or watering plants may be less intense. And if you’re just looking at your flowers… extremely less intense.

In general, it’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. That means that you may need to engage in a variety of activities to meet these guidelines, not just garden alone.

How much weight can you lose gardening?

The amount of weight you can lose through gardening depends on a variety of factors, including your age, sex, weight, height, and the intensity of the activity.

It’s also important to consider your diet and overall lifestyle when trying to lose weight, too. You can’t binge on pizza and soda and then go plant a tulip.

As a general rule, to lose one pound of weight, you need to create a calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. This can be achieved by increasing your physical activity and/or reducing the number of calories you consume. A combination of both is ideal.

Gardening is a good way to increase your physical activity and potentially lose weight, but you have to remember that the specific amount of weight you can lose will depend on your individual circumstances.

Like we’ve said before, to lose weight, it is recommended to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, and to monitor your calorie intake to ensure that you’re creating a calorie deficit.

Is gardening better than going to the gym?

It’s difficult to say whether gardening is better than going to the gym because both have their benefits and can be suitable for different people depending on their individual goals and preferences.

The most important deciding factor is to consider which activity you will actually do. If it’s gardening, then do that! If it’s the gym, then do that. Doing something is 100% times better than doing nothing.

Gardening can help improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, and provide cardiovascular benefits. It’s also an enjoyable and relaxing way to spend your time and get you outdoors.

Going to the gym provides access to a wide range of equipment and facilities that can allow you to engage in different types of exercise, and provides the opportunity to work with a personal trainer or other fitness professionals. The gym can also be a good choice for people who prefer to exercise indoors, or who live in areas where the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities.

Does gardening tone your body?

Gardening can be a good way to tone your body because it involves a range of physical activities that can help to strengthen and tone your muscles.

The specific muscles that you use and the extent to which you will be able to tone them will depend on the type of gardening activities you are doing. For example, activities such as digging, raking, and hoeing can help to strengthen and tone your arms, legs, and core, while activities such as bending and stretching can help to improve your flexibility.

To maximize the toning benefits of gardening, you may want to focus on activities that involve repetitive motions and use a variety of muscle groups. You can also try using tools or equipment that provide an additional challenge, such as using hand weights or wearing a weighted vest while gardening.

As with any physical activity, it is important to start at a level that is appropriate for your fitness level and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable and stronger.


Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

Thanks for joining me as I share tips and inspiration for perennial gardening. 

Click below to see what's growing in my garden right now? 

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