Are mowing and weeding considered exercise? How to use outdoor chores to burn a ton of calories

  • 2 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Just how much exercise comes from mowing the lawn or weeding the flowerbeds? This post will give you the good news on calories burned from outdoor chores.

Are mowing and weeding exercise

Weeding and mowing are among many outdoor chores that count as exercise

There are plenty of exercise opportunities from working in the yard and garden, such as mowing, weeding, and shoveling. Outdoor yard work can burn serious calories–often far higher than a moderate-intensity walk. So instead of routinely replacing planned exercise with outdoor chores, use them for backup calorie burners and to supplement your goals.

The outdoor activities in this post include both warm- and cold-weather chores. See the Compendium of Physical Activities for more ideas. In that list, the higher-intensity activities have higher MET (metabolic equivalent of task) levels. If you wish to aim for a "moderate-intensity" level, choose activities from 3 to 5.9 METs and perform them for 30 minutes of net time (that is, actual move time, not including breaks). More movement is beneficial, so even lower MET activities are helpful with increased motion. In addition, higher MET activities burn more calories per minute. All activities listed in the compendium are available for tracking in MyNetDiary.


Even if you push a self-propelled lawnmower, mowing burns a decent amount of calories–more than just walking alone. After all, you are walking while pushing or pulling a weight. MyNetDiary's database identifies a self-propelled mower as a power mower. If your lawn is unlevel, or you let the grass grow too tall, you can burn even more calories. In that case, log "mowing lawn, walk, power mower, moderate or vigorous effort." A push mower that is not self-propelled burns even more calories. Don't log the use of a seated or standing riding mower as exercise.


If you have a garden or flowerbeds, you know how important it is to weed regularly, so they don't run amok like an unpleasant and painful-to-pull thistle. The good news is that weeding is a good calorie-burner, even if done with light effort. The leaning over and pulling action and frequent squats really help burn calories.

Shoveling snow

Shoveling snow by hand is a great calorie burner. A 130-pound person will burn 266 calories for one hour of "shoveling snow by hand moderate effort," as shown in MyNetDiary. If you are strong and shovel fast and efficiently, your burned calories will be higher. Choose "shoveling snow by hand vigorous effort" when logging outdoor work in MyNetDiary. Snowblowing also burns calories, so log "operating a snowblower, walking and pushing." However, a seated snowblower or plow does not count as exercise.

Other outdoor chores that burn a lot of calories

Plenty of additional "exercise" options abide in your weekend yard work besides mowing and weeding, including these and many more listed in the database of MyNetDiary.

When you think of ordinary mowing, weeding, and other chores as opportunities to support your health and exercise goals and burn calories, those chores become activities that you may not mind. Also, when finished, your lawn and garden will look wonderful!

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Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow on April 13, 2023.

Exercise->Aerobic & Cardio Exercise->Tips Weight Loss->Weight Loss Tips & Quips
Apr 14, 2023
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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