Gardening has been shown to improve health, especially for those who start earlier in life. Spending time outdoors, deepening connection with nature, and enjoying the rewards of your work are all reasons to get out into the garden. But did you know that it comes with the added benefit of cardio? Shoulder workouts? Squats? Here’s how gardening this spring can get you ready for a healthy, active summer.

Good for the body and mind

The benefits of yard work aren’t limited to the body alone. Spending time outside can help calm your mind and allow you to de-stress from the ever crazy world of work, school, cleaning, and technology. Being able to let your mind go while raking or just focusing on the sound of birds chattering while weeding and prepping your garden beds is a great way to give yourself the space to think deeply. It allows you to feel more productive while also connecting you to the Earth, a feeling that just about anyone is grateful for nowadays.

Build those muscles while building your garden

If you’ve ever spent an entire weekend out in the yard getting ready for the first big backyard bash of Spring, then you know exactly how killer of a workout gardening can be. Raking, digging, and pushing that old school lawn mower (nope no riding lawn mowers here) are all great ways to help you get in shape and get your yard ready for summer. According to AARP the average person can burn more than 200 calories per hour doing yard work. Here’s how.
  • Rake -- Raking is even better exercise than sweeping, particularly after mowing your lawn. You'll burn up to 300 calories in an hour and leave your lawn looking spectacular.
  • Dig -­- Digging is amazing exercise! It works your back, arms, shoulders, core, and leg muscles, and it will have you breathing hard in no time. Whether you're digging a new row for planting crops or turning over soil, it's a great way to get in shape.
  • Hoe -- Hoeing is much harder and more tiring than it looks, especially if there is a lot of very rocky ground. Spend a few minutes turning over the topsoil to work up a sweat.
  • Squat while you weed -- Most of us like to sit on a chair on kneel on the ground while we weed, but you can use your weeding time as a chance for a leg workout and to work on mobility. Squat as you weed, and hold the position until your legs burn. Resist the urge to sit or kneel, and you'll work your leg muscles beautifully.
  • Build something -- Building uses our brains and our brawn. Whether it’s a wall, chicken coop, or maybe even a new firepit, building is a great and productive way to exercise.
  • Push the lawnmower -- No more riding mower for you! Get out that old push mower, and be ready for a great workout!
  • Clean up -- Load up that wheelbarrow and start carting. Hauling a wheelbarrow works your core, your forearms, your arms, your shoulders, and your back, giving you an excellent upper body workout as you leave your garden nice and clean.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone! You’ll have a spotless yard and be feeling like a million bucks. Well, after a good stretch, anyway. Now kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.