Pulling weeds can be a great way to burn calories and get some exercise. The number of calories you burn depends on a few key factors:
Your body weight
Heavier people burn more calories for the same activity. According to Harvard Health, a 155 lb person will burn around 285 calories per hour of weeding. A 200 lb person will burn around 372 calories.
The more intense the weeding, the more calories you’ll burn. Light weeding burns around 160 calories per hour. Moderate, continuous weeding burns around 285 calories per hour. Vigorous weeding can burn over 400 calories per hour.
Type of weeding
Some weeding tasks burn more calories than others. Pulling weeds by hand burns the most calories. Using tools like hoes or weed pullers can decrease the intensity a bit. Here’s a breakdown:
|Calories Burned Per Hour
|Weeding with tools
The longer you spend weeding, the more calories you’ll burn. You can estimate calories burned by multiplying the calories burned per hour by the number of hours you weed.
For example, if you hand weed moderately for 2 hours, you’ll burn around:
285 calories x 2 hours = 570 calories
Your fitness level
People who are more fit tend to burn more calories for the same activity. Cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass play a role.
Age and gender
In general, men and younger adults burn more calories than women and older adults. A 30 year old man may burn 15-20% more calories weeding than a 30 year old woman.
On average, a 155 lb person will burn around 285 calories per hour of moderate hand weeding. Heavier people burn more calories, while lighter people burn fewer.
Intensity matters too. Light weeding may only burn half as many calories. Vigorous weeding can burn over 400 calories per hour.
Using tools decreases the intensity a bit, resulting in lower calorie burn compared to hand weeding. But weeding with tools still provides a moderate intensity workout.
The duration of weeding also impacts calories burned. Weeding for longer periods burns more calories overall.
Factors like age, gender, and fitness play a role as well. But in general, weeding is an excellent way to burn 200-400+ calories per hour while getting your garden in shape!
How does weeding compare to other exercise?
Weeding burns a similar number of calories as many other moderate intensity exercises. Here’s how weeding stacks up (based on a 155 lb person):
|Calories burned per hour
|Low impact aerobics
|Brisk walking (3.5 mph)
|Light bicycling (leisurely pace)
|Golfing (while carrying clubs)
As you can see, moderate gardening activities like weeding burn a similar number of calories as light jogging or brisk walking. And vigorous gardening can burn over 400 calories per hour, comparable to hiking or swimming laps.
Tips for burning more calories while weeding
Here are some tips to maximize the calories you burn while weeding:
- Hand weed instead of using tools when possible
- Work at a continuous, brisk pace
- Pull out weeds roots and all instead of just clipping them
- Do overhead motions like grabbing high weeds or pruning
- Squat or kneel down frequently to increase muscle work
- Switch between tasks like weeding and raking to use different muscles
- Work for longer durations to increase total calories burned
- Schedule weeding sessions more frequently to increase weekly calorie burn
Health and weight loss benefits
Weeding has some excellent health and weight loss benefits beyond just burning calories:
- Functional strength – weeding improves strength in the back, arms, shoulders, and core
- Cardiovascular fitness – the aerobic activity improves heart health
- Flexibility – the wide range of motions improves flexibility
- Mental health – being outdoors and active reduces stress
- Vitamin D – moderate sun exposure increases vitamin D levels
- Weight loss – the calorie burn helps shed excess fat
Even an hour of weeding 2-3 times per week can lead to noticeable improvements in strength, endurance, flexibility, weight loss, and mental health.
Estimating your calorie burn from weeding
Here are some simple equations to estimate how many calories you burn per hour of weeding based on your weight:
Light weeding (standing, occasional movements):
Calories Burned Per Hour = (Weight in lbs x 0.044) x 1.25
Moderate weeding (continuous, bending and squatting):
Calories Burned Per Hour = (Weight in lbs x 0.074) x 1.25
Vigorous weeding (near-constant motion):
Calories Burned Per Hour = (Weight in lbs x 0.089) x 1.25
For example, if you weigh 180 lbs, moderate weeding would burn:
(180 x 0.074) x 1.25 = 166 calories per hour
So use your weight and intensity level to get a rough estimate of your weeding calorie burn. Track your heart rate to gauge if your pace is light, moderate or vigorous.
Weeding the garden can burn 200-400+ calories per hour depending on your pace and intensity.
Hand weeding burns more calories than using tools. Working vigorously at a fast pace ramps up the calorie burn even more.
Weeding for an hour several times per week can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and mental health while helping you shed excess weight.
So take advantage of weeding and other gardening chores as an effective way to get active outdoors and improve your health.