I was wondering how to think about yard work as a form of exercise. What I was doing this weekend was preparing our flower beds for summer. This entails raking the bed, edging, weeding, and then spreading mulch. It is pretty demanding work, it works the core mostly, but arms get it pretty good too.
I decided to wear a heart rate monitor to get an idea of how much aerobic benefit there is. I did two “sessions”. The first was an hour and forty three minutes. The I needed to run an errand and grab a drink. Then I did another 3 hours and 12 minutes.
My average HR for the first session was 104bpm, so well below the threshold for UT work, but a bit more than 2x my resting HR. And my peak HR was only 125. Over the first hour and 43 minutes, I burnt 957 calories. More than I expected.
The second session wiped me out. About the same average HR at 102bpm. A slightly higher peak at 131. Total calories burnt over the 3 hours and 12 minutes was 1905. By the end, I was having trouble getting up from my knees if I crouched down.
By the evening, I was basically paralyzed with stiffness in my back.
A good days work. And now I know that yard work is basically 600 calories an hour.
3 thoughts on “Saturday: 5 hours of yard work”
Have you tried wearing your HRM whilst doing basically nothing? It’d be interesting to compare the per hour calorific values!
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I haven’t, but I assume it would probably be between 150 and 200 calories. I’ll have to try it sometime.
This is what a lot of people around me are doing. HR measuring arm bands are the craze with our weight shedding office rat population. They are quantifying calories for everything they do (and then balance with calorie intake).
I think it is a good fitness boost to do regular outdoors work. Kind of a strength endurance session. My grandfather was a vegetable grower and always commented how fast these rowing boats would be if they put 8 farmer’s sons in it instead of 8 students … 🙂
Also, no matter how much we train, some of the really fast Masters rowers I know either don’t have to work or they have work which adds a lot of this exercise to their daily routine.