By becoming active in your garden, you have the perfect opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors while feeling good about yourself and your garden.

Gardening is a wonderful way to work all of the major muscle groups and even lose a few pounds.

Here are a few noteworthy statistics: mowing the lawn with a power mower burns 360 calories per hour while the average woman will burn 150 calories during 30 minutes of digging and spading.

Transplanting trees and shrubs will give you a whole body workout with the average woman using up 135 calories every 30 minutes.

Pruning and trimming plants and shrubs also works to keep us in shape by burning off 135 calories every 30 minutes.

Weeding the flowerbeds and vegetable gardens is also good therapeutic exercise taking away 138 calories every half hour. Spring raking is another popular task that is good for both the garden and the gardener, burning off 120 calories each half hour.

Regular plant care strengthens our hands, forearms, shoulders and upper backs. The added bonus is the chance to work out the leg muscles, hamstrings, hips and buttocks.

Just like in any exercise, remember to use the right form and technique to avoid injury. Here are a few tips, published by Chiropractic Ontario, to consider before heading into the garden:

  • Do the “scissors” when you rake: Start with the right leg forward and your left leg back when you rake. Switch legs every few minutes. This will help you from bending and twisting your way into a sore back. Take periodic breaks while you’re working.
  • Change hands frequently: Changing hands when raking and hoeing prevents muscle strain on one side of the body. Try to stand as straight as possible with your head upright. Pause every few minutes to stretch.
  • Use long-handled tools: Long-handled tools let you avoid bending forwards and sideways as you work, which can cause you to strain your neck or lower back.
  • Lift properly: Face the object you plan to lift, bend your knees, and draw the load in close to your body. Use the muscle power of your legs to lift. Don’t lift heavy objects above your waist. Ask for help moving big flowerpots and bags of soil or garden waste.
  • Kneel to weed and plant: Constant bending and squatting can put strain on your back, neck and leg muscles. You can buy special kneepads and mats that make kneeling on the ground more comfortable.

Like all good athletes, drink lots of water throughout your gardening exercises and follow up your day with some good stretches. Your body will thank you in the morning.

This summer, why not spend time in the garden and get a workout that is good for the mind, body and soul?

While burning calories and keeping fit, you have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.