Skip to main content
5 Big Bonuses of Getting out of the Gym & into the Garden

5 Big Bonuses of Getting out of the Gym & into the Garden

Save money, time, angst. Grow a garden and get fit for free

Have you ever looked around you at the gym and wondered at the pointlessness of it all? All that lycra - riding bikes, running treadmills, rowing ergos, reading stairs to nowhere. I am not suggesting that exercise and fitness is pointless, but maybe there is a better way go about it.

One day at the gym - flexing - and I caught my mind drifting toward all the work I had to do in the garden on the weekend and wondering where I could find a gardener to help me plant some things, dig some garden beds and spread some fertilizer - on top of the usual mowing and cutting I already had to do. If only there was more time in a day for both. 

Which got me thinking that I couldn't remember the last time I saw an overweight or unfit gardener. Then I wondered if gardeners went to the gym? Duh. Of course not, they are too busy getting paid to exercise by doing gardening. Wait a minute - so I go to the gym to get exercise to get fit then I pay a gardener to do other exercise on my behalf so s/he can get fit. 

Time & money

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that something was screwed up here. It's not just about the fitness paradox. There is all that time invested in getting said fit gardener to turn up in the first place. Finding one, booking, sorting days, times, jobs to do. Then afterwards saying thank you, see you next time, organising diaries. 

YOU PROBABLY THINK I AM NIT PICKING NOW, BUT ADD ALL THOSE PIECES OF TIME UP - IT'S AT LEAST AN HOUR. NOW LET'S ADD 2 X 1 HOUR SESSIONS A WEEK DOING WEIGHT TRAINING & CARDIO AT THE GYM AS WELL AS GETTING READY, DRIVING TO GYM AND PETROL FOR CAR OR TRAIN FARE.

 AND LET'S INVEST THAT TIME & MONEY IN GARDENING AT HOME AND SEE HOW WE END UP. WITH AT LEAST 3, MAYBE 4 MORE HOURS A WEEK FOR A START.

There are even PT Garden instructors

To be fair, I am not entirely sure how many there are around as I've only met two - Katie from Olive Vegan Wood or Karen from Edible Eden. Katie is a vegan and will teach you how to plant an edible garden for a donation. Karen is in Melbourne and has taught literally thousands of home owners how to turn their back yards into produce stores.

Gardening fitness - does it measure up?

So, just how fit can you get doing the garden? Here is a rough guide of calorie use in an hour, working at a good moderate pace. (And if you want something more specific, you might be in this for the wrong reasons!):


 Activity Calories   Activity  Calories
 Racking & Bagging Leaves  400  Shovelling Dirt or Snow  500 
 Weeding & Planting  300  Digging holes  600
 Mowing grass  300  Sweeping & Racking  250
 Watering Garden (with can)   120  Planting Flowers  300

Getting the picture?

Use whatever is available to you. Ginny Stevens from Active Farmers sent us this picture of a farmer doing leg raises on a cow! Obviously not the first time, judging by the look on the cow's face. 

The bonus

Somewhat bizarrely, this DIY gardening seems to have saved money, offered the same fitness opportunity and created something special. And the option is on offer to most of us. We just don't always see it because we are caught up in the routine we call life. There are five massive bonuses I have gotten out of this changed mindset - that started with gardening and has now extended to domestic jobs


  1. The work now feels like a fitness session, not a job to be done. 
  2. I used the money I saved on the gardener and the gym to buy a bunch of garden tools and have learned garden skills I would never have had otherwise.
  3. I have a growing garden - with herbs, flowers & annuals! 
  4. I do the workout, don't have to pay anyone to be my personal trainer or a gardener to do the work.
  5. And the work is done! Not waiting for me afterwards!  

Help someone else?

Now if you are thinking that you don't have a garden and in the absence of somewhere to go, you'll be staying at the gym - think about someone who does have a garden who could use your help. They might even share produce or flowers with you. (It's not always about you, you know... x)  


Main Image: Photographer Verity Vareé  | Other images: Unsplash - Seth Doyle | Becca Matimba | Dan Gold | Bogomil Mihaylov

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Lara Lynch
Creative Keeper

Love this, and with pumpkins about to be ready for harvesting in my garden (well technically they grew out of the compost and took over the lawn), I should be doing some weights soon. Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Jennifer Nielsen
Founder

That's a really interesting way of looking at it! Wow. A lot. Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Scott Morton
Director

Wonder how many thousands of calories you could burn composting if you add them up over a month!! Monday, 6 April 2020