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5 forms of yard work that totally count as exercise
Who needs a gym membership when you have a lawn to mow?
If you think of gardening as a mellow, relaxing activity for old people, think again. Gardening and yard work involve carrying bits of metal, repetitive motions that build and require strength, sweat on your brow (especially during summer)… this is exercise, a full-body workout that doubles as lawn care.
And potentially it’s better than going to the gym. You don’t have to pay a membership fee, and doing this work yourself saves you money, because you don’t need to hire someone else. Plus it takes place outdoors and you get to choose the music (or you can just listen to the birds chirping).
Here are five things to do in you lawn or garden this summer that we say count as a workout. (After all, you’re moving and pushing your body, physical activity that means yard work is exercise.) Just wear sunscreen and, just like if you were at the gym, start slow and listen to your body. Remember: If you start to ache, put down the rake.
In this article:
Mowing the lawn
If you have the kind of lawn mower that you can ride, take this activity off the list (or put that thing back in the shed and get old school). An electric mower that you have to push will still provide you some exercise, and a manual one is optimal, but both provide a pretty full workout. You’re using your arms, chest and shoulders, plus your quads (which is where the main power should come from). And if your lawn is big enough, you even get a good walk.
If painting fences as exercise was good enough for Mr. Miyagi, it’s good enough for us. Yard work isn’t all about plants, you also need to keep the dead things in your yard in reasonable shape. Paint the fence, paint the shed, varnish the furniture. All this needs to be done regularly, preferably when there’s little chance of rain.
This will build your arms and chest, as well as your stamina. Just wear a mask if you’re varnishing, otherwise the good you’re doing for your muscles may be undercut by the effect on your lungs.
The hole digging is good for the shoulders (and the legs if you need to push the spade into the soil with your feet). The bending down to put things in the holes is basically a series of squats. And if you’re planting heavy things, maneuvering them into place is a series of farmer’s carries (somewhat literally). Depending on their severity, pulling weeds are basically like rows.
If you use a leaf blower, you’re still getting exercise, but it’s better for you (and the planet) if you use a manual rake. The raking is mostly upper body — there will be bicep burn — but then you need to bag the leaves, which works your quads and core.
Really, the main reason to chop wood is that it looks cool. Also, it’s also full-on exercise. Doing it with an ax is difficult, satisfying and sweaty. Using a chainsaw is just pure fun, but it’s also surprisingly sweat-inducing: chainsaws are heavy, and moving one through a log feels like the opposite of a hot knife through butter.
You also get to use the wood for your barbecue, which is reasonable, because you’ll be hungry by the time you’ve done everything on this list.
About Michael DavisRead more by Michael Davis
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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
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