The weather is starting to warm up across North America–and there’s a lot to love about that. But with the melting snow and the rising temperatures comes yard work, and a lot of it. You’ve got to get rid of any leaves that were left behind under the first snowfall, clip branches that were broken by ice, prepare the garden bed for planting, patch up grass that went yellow, and fertilize your plants. It’s nice to have an excuse to spend a few afternoons outside, enjoying the spring weather, but it’s also a lot of hard work.
The good news is that the hard work means muscles flexed and calories burned. Yard work is a sneaky kind of exercise–you have to do it either way, and you’re too busy to focus on reps and intensity. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t scorching calories and building muscle strength.
Want to know just how good a workout these four common yard chores are? Read on.
The average 155-pound adult will burn about 294 calories for every hour spent gardening, Fatsecret Canada estimates. All that squatting in the dirt works your glutes and thighs, and you get an arm and shoulder workout when you’re hauling weeds and raking leaves. You’ll also work your core while trying to keep yourself balanced on the soft earth.
Washing the Car
Here’s a good reason to dig out the buckets and sponges instead of bringing your car to the drive-through car wash: an hour spent washing your car by hand burns an average of 220 calories, and saves you money to boot. You’ll get a great workout for your upper arms and shoulders, in particular, working that sponge. Put some tunes on the car radio and get scrubbing!
Mowing the Lawn
Even using an electric mower requires you to work hard–you’ve got to push it around and keep it under control, after all, giving you a good upper-body workout. As Men’s Fitness points out, lawn mowing also works out your calf muscles and your heart. Fatsecret Canada says that the average burn for an hour spent mowing is 368 calories, and you’ll be rid of even more if you have to rake the clippings up afterward.
Still dealing with snowfall? The good news is that on top of working out your core and upper body, you’re extinguishing a ton of calories: an estimated 441 per hour of shoveling, in fact. That doesn’t quite make up for those warm-weather photos your friends in other cities are posting on Facebook, but it’s at least a small consolation prize.