Which Gardening Moves Burn Most Calories?

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/econundrum-gardening-exercise - calories
Econundrum: Which Gardening Moves Burn Most Calories?
By Kiera Butler | Mon Apr. 5, 2010 2:30 AM PDT
Image courtesy of Flickr user ezioman
Last weekend, when I finally ventured into my backyard garden after a long El Nio winter of rain, I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty sight. But I was not prepared for just how bad things had gotten. A few years back, Alan Weisman [1] wrote a great book called The World Without Us [2], about what might happen to the planet if humanity suddenly vanished. He could have used my backyard as a visual. "Messy" would be a major understatement: Rosemary forest. Compost pile taken over by spindly weeds. Waist-high grasses, grown so thick I couldn't even see the edges of the vegetable bed. Cat poop everywhere.
So I have my work cut out for me. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, considering the long winter has meant I've done a lot of sitting around, and all that weeding will be a good workout [3]. Just ask gardening exercise guru Jeffrey Restuccio [4], who has written two books on the fitness advantages of yardwork. "To me the greatest benefit of eating organic food is not the food itself," says Restuccio. "It's the exercise that you get growing that food." He's also developed a series of moves that maximize the fitness benefits of gardening. (The lunge-and-weed [5] looks especially awesome.)
With the help of the University of South Carolina School of Public Health's Compendium of Physical Activities [6], Restuccio estimated the amount of calories burned during half an hour of common gardening activities. Unsurprisingly, turns out that in general, activities that require less power from the grid are also a much better workout. For example: Mowing: Ride-on mower: 101 calories Push mower with motor: 182 calories Push mower: 243 calories Trimming: Power shears: 142 calories Manual shears: 182 calories Weeding is also pretty good exercise, at 182 calories burned in a half hour. Restuccio doesn't calculate how many calories you'd burn applying a chemical weed killer, but I'm guessing it's pretty similar to watering, which burns only 61 calories. (One exception to the greener gardeningtter exercise rule: "gardening with heavy power tools," which burns a whopping 243 calories, presumably because the tools are, well, heavy.) Full list of 18 gardening activities and calories burned: Watering lawn: 61 Mowing lawn (ride-on): 101 Trimming shrubs (power): 142 Raking: 162 Bagging leaves: 162 Planting seedlings: 182 Mowing (push with motor): 182 Planting trees: 182 Snow thrower (walking): 182 Trimming shrubs (manual): 182 Weeding: 182 Clearing land: 202 Digging, spading, tilling: 202 Laying sod: 202 Chopping wood: 202 Gardening with heavy power tools: 243 Mowing lawn (push manual): 243 Double digging [7]: 344 For more on gardening for exercise, visit Restuccio's site [4]:
Source URL: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/econundrum-gardening-exercise - calories Links: [1] http://www.worldwithoutus.com/about_author.html [2] http://www.worldwithoutus.com / [3] http://www.everydayhealth.com/blog/zimney-health-and-medical-news-you-can -use/gardening-is-good-exercise/ [4] http://www.ritecode.com/aerobicgardening / [5] http://www.ritecode.com/aerobicgardening/Tanya_classic_lunge_and_weed_200 _x_158.jpg [6] http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm [7] http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s-5-19-934,00.html
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Billy wrote:

This doesn't look right to me. How can raking be less than planting seedlings?
But the idea that doing physical work is a positive aspect of growing things is good.
David
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I guess it depends on your technique and how organized you are. If you use a dibble, no way, but if you use a trowel, down you go, digging a little hole for the plant, then up you come again. With raking, it is just pull-follow through-step, pull-follow through-step, pull-follow through-step.
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Andy comments:
For me the most calories are burned when I have to skin and clean the rabbits that try to sabotage my garden. Fortunately, I can restore the calories with the delicious stews that can be made from the critters and the produce they were trying to steal...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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AndyS wrote:

I have a kelpie for that. He burns the energy and he gets the meat.
David
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