Get fit while you garden

Exercise your greenthumb and get into shape with these four quick tips


Spring has sprung and there’s no better time to get your garden—and body—into shape. Yes, you heard me right: digging and planting can burn up to 360 calories an hour while building flexibility, coordination and heart health. But like any physical activity, it pays to start slow. Here’s the dirt:

Stretch first
According to a Canadian Physiotherapy Association and an Ipsos Reid National Mobility Study, 28 per cent of Canadians have difficulty kneeling, bending or stooping—all core gardening activities. Before each gardening session, make sure you gently stretch your neck, shoulders, wrists, lower back and legs, holding each stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.

Do it right
Keep your abs tight and maintain control of each motion as you work. Be sure to move your trowels, pruning shears and soil nearby so you’re not reaching constantly.

Get schooled on tools
Talk to an expert at your local gardening centre or hardware store to make sure your tools are appropriately sized for your frame. Otherwise, you may strain muscles.

Be sun smart
Wear a lightweight, long-sleeved top, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and two tablespoons of an SPF 15, 30, 45 or 60 sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Keep a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated, too.