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Yard-work = Workingout ???

The change of season, from Summer to Fall, not only brings Oyster Roasts, the change of leaves, and football weather; but it also brings the promise of lots and lots of yard work. While it may be viewed as a chore, you should look at it as an opportunity to burn calories, work your body in new ways, and get outside moving in the fresh air all while not having to make a trip to the gym.

The great thing about working outside is it involves lifting, bending, twisting, squatting, etc.; working the body in all functional planes of movement…. meaning that it works a lot of muscles in a variety of ways. Switching between dominant and non-dominant sides of the body with work like shoveling and raking will ensure the body is working equally hard on both sides.

Below is a list of the most common yardwork activities and their calories burned an hour. As you can see, a day spent working outside can serve as a substitute for a day at the gym…AND you get the immediate gratification of a cleaner, nicer looking yard.

  • Shoveling snow: 400-600 calories per hour
  • Heavy yard work (landscaping, moving rocks, hauling dirt): 400-600 calories per hour
  • Raking and bagging leaves: 350-450 calories per hour
  • Gardening: pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc.: 200-400 calories per hour
  • Mowing the lawn: 250-350 calories per hour

The above numbers are based on a 150 pound individual so your boy broke it down a little deeper for you (that’s what he said. haha).

Here’s the math:

On average (of all the outdoor activities), yard work burns about 400 calories an hour. Breaking this down even further, that is about 2.5 calories per pound of body weight (400cal / 150 lb) per hour worked.

For example, myself at 215lb X 2.5 calories = approx. 540 calories burned per hour.

Not a bad little workout. I know after I have spent a day outside working, my muscles know it.

Not to be ignored, here is a list of major indoor calorie burning activities…for those days when it’s not so nice to play outside.

  • Major cleaning (turning mattresses, washing windows, washing the car): 175-250 calories per hour.
  • Moderate housecleaning (laundry loads, mopping and sweeping, vacuuming): 150-200 calories per hour
  • Light housecleaning (dusting, straightening up, taking out the trash): 120-170 calories per hour.
  • Child care: 300-600 calories per hour (depending on how old the kids are and how active they are)

Based on the same math above:

The average calories burned for indoor activity is 250 with that working out to about 1.5 calories per pound of body weight per hour.

Again, with the example of myself at 215 lb : 215 lb X 1.5 = 325 cal/hr burned with indoor activity.

As you can see, many of our daily activities can more than hold their own against calories burned with a typical gym workout. Not only that, but you also get to be outside and get the immediate benefit of your yard looking better. Look at it like getting the opportunity to challenge and work your body while being outside, not as something you have to do; a chore.

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