Grow Your Muscles in the Garden

By Gretchen Goswitz – July 1, 2015

We are always trying to keep up with the latest fitness and nutrition trends here at Austin Fit. As much as we love running on the trails around town, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to spice up our workout routine—whether that means taking a TRX training class, testing our balance on a surfboard at City Surf, or hitting Lake Austin for a sunny wake surfing session, the more unique the activity, the better. Which brings us to our most recent activity, and one of many fun methods of exercise that often go overlooked: gardening.  

Countless medical studies have found that gardening serves up a healthy boost for your body and soul (watch out, yoga). It makes sense. There are many similarities between gardening activities and muscle strength-building activities. For one, both require adhering to a routine. Think about it: You can’t hit the gym once and expect to see serious gains (or losses), the same way you can’t water your plants once and expect to step outside the next morning and see a flourish of flora. 

So strap on your Crocs (I may or may not join you in this endeavor) and work up a sweat from digging, raking, weeding, and more. 

30 Minutes of Weeding
Calories burned: 135 
Muscles worked: lower back, arms, shoulders, and abs

30 Minutes of Digging
Calories burned: 140 
Muscles worked: lower back, arms, shoulders, and abs

30 Minutes of Turning Compost
Calories burned: 200 
Muscles worked: forearms, biceps, shoulders

30 Minutes of Carrying Soil
Calories burned: 150 
Muscles worked: legs, glutes, thighs, biceps, and lower back

PRO TIP
When moving large bags of soil, don’t forget to bend at the knees when picking them up. The same rules of weightlifting apply to gardening; if you don’t lift with correct posture, you'll put yourself at risk for a painful back strain. 

Other Gardening Benefits

Being outside = Healthy dose of Vitamin D and proximity to pure, clean oxygen

Large, heavy watering can = Improves grip and forearm strength

Pushing a wheelbarrow = Great for building chest muscles and improving upper body strength and balance.

Stretching when moving transplants improves balance.
Note: To get a fuller workout, switch arms halfway through.

PRO TIP
Set your transplants 10 feet away from your garden bed. This way, you’ll be required to squat up and down as you continue moving back and forth. (Your glutes will thank you for it later!) Also, don’t forget to bend at the knees when picking up and moving large bags of soil. The same rule of weightlifting applies to gardening: If you don’t lift with correct posture, you put yourself at risk for a painful back strain. 
 

 
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