Working outdoors can tone your muscles and your mind. This spring, get a power workout from lawn and garden exercises. Getting fit in the garden might be more fun and easier than you think.

Mowing the lawn can become a more enjoyable task knowing that you are burning 360 calories per hour pushing a power mower. For the average woman, digging and spading will burn 150 calories in 30 minutes.

Transplanting trees and shrubs will give you a total-body workout, with the average woman using up 135 calories each 30 minutes. Pruning and trimming of plants also works to keep us in shape: 30 minutes of steady plant care will wear off 135 calories while working our hands, forearms, shoulders and upper backs.

Weeding the flower beds and vegetable gardens is also good exercise, taking away 138 calories every 30 minutes. The added bonus is a workout of leg muscles, hamstrings, hips and buttocks. Spring raking is another popular task that is good for both the garden and the gardener, using up 120 calories each half hour.

While enjoying work in your garden, you are also working the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. Tasks used to work these areas strengthen important muscle groups while burning calories.

There are other bonuses to getting a good workout in the garden, such as stretching out for the tree branches and building biceps by pulling weeds. Pushing the wheelbarrow and shovelling dirt gives great resistance training, comparable to that of lifting weights.

Also remember to stretch your muscles properly before hitting the garden.

Although it does depend on what gardening task you are doing and for how long; in general, gardening rates comparably with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise such as walking and bicycling.

Research shows that gardening for just 30 minutes per day will increase flexibility, strengthen joints, lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, lower the risk for diabetes and slow down osteoporosis.

Gardening provides a challenging workout for your body while being less stressful than other forms of exercise such as jogging.

Could there be a better reason to become active in your garden?

Gardening is something fun that the whole family will enjoy. By becoming active in your garden, you will enjoy the great outdoors while feeling good about yourself and your garden.

Pulling a few morning weeds, followed by some evening pruning, will go a long way for your health. This spring, take pleasure in spending a few hours, each week, in your garden.

Not only is gardening good for our soul, but it is good for our bodies, as well.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.