I’ve always been a fit and sporty individual, and I’ve tried to find ways to exercise even when we had office jobs, from running and cycling to yoga and pushing weights. Since moving into Home Farm I no longer have to look for ways to exercise, because gardening and working our smallholding is keeping me fitter than ever.
It’s remarkable how gruelling and physically taxing gardening can be. For example, I’ve done a lot of pick axe work this year (mainly removing vast areas of turf grass in the field around the smallholding) and the arm workout competes with doing bicep curls at the gym. It also works your core, triceps, shoulders and forearms, but you’ve got to be careful not to exert and strain your lower back.
Digging holes is also a great way to get the heart pumping, and raking really focuses on your core. The variation in manual tasks is a great way to ensure that all muscle groups are engaged and getting regular workouts. Not surprisingly, I feel much stronger.
Walking up and down the hill from the house to the pond, veg patch and compost heap multiple times a day also gets the heart rate up (which is great for the cardiovascular system) especially if you’ve got a decent load in the wheelbarrow. It also builds leg strength.
Even mowing the lawn, a three hour session once a week, improves my strength, dexterity and aerobic endurance, while getting in thousands of steps breathing in fresh air.
Honestly, I would compare an afternoon of moderate gardening activity to an intense hour-long workout at the gym.
But don’t take my word for it. Look at the the numbers from Apple Watch.
On most days by just getting on with day-to-day tasks around the smallholding I’m covering over 15km on foot. And on monster days (like the one below) where I’m wheelbarrowing, pick axing or digging holes, I can burn over 1,000 calories in a day.
And these aren’t one off numbers either. As an average, I’m burning over 600 calories a day by gardening and walking outdoors. Who needs the gym, right?