There is a finite amount of time on the weekend. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to clean up the yard and go for a 3 hour bike ride.
Believe me, if you need a workout the yard work counts.
Anyone who has pulled weeds, raked leaves or moved anything heavy in a wheelbarrow can attest it will break a sweat. Yard work uses the major muscle groups and involves complex movement. A perfect combination for a great workout.
I have to confess: I don’t like yard work. Which is really sucks when you have a big yard. The idea of property always appeals to my desire for space between me and my neighbors. Space to make your own.
Until you need to maintain all that space.
In my case cleaning the yard has a deadline. There is nothing like an upcoming party to make the tasks you’ve been putting off move up the priority list.
Making your yard work workout count.
My first yard work project wasn’t technically in the yard. If you own a redwood deck, you know they need a little love. We just finished a large repair project on the deck which replaced the staircase and a section of the deck by the stairs. All the sawing happened on the deck for convenience which made lots of sawdust. Then it rained.
Sawdust and rain make a great filler between deck boards.This is the super high tech way to clean out the gaps.
Squat deck cleaning workout
Start on one section of the desk, keeping feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Squat by keeping your booty back, and keep your knees behind your toes. Squat low and hold, keeping abs tight to support your lower back.
Reach down with the scraper in your right hand and work within a good reach range, cleaning between each slat from your far right to center. Switch hands, holding the scraper in your left hand and clean our from center to far left. Stand, take a step forward, squat and repeat.
I ended up taking about 30 minutes to clean the deck and my legs were burning. Think about doing squats with lat pulls for half an hour. That definitely counts as a workout.
Shoulder and lat workout by sweeping
Now that the gaps are all cleaned up, might as well work on the surface. The trick with any sweeping is to try and balance the work out between sides. We each have a dominant side – right or left.
It can feel awkward and weird to use our non-dominant side, but with yard work it can make it an even workout by switching sides. Plus it keeps the next day soreness down by splitting the work between the muscles all over the body.
Pick a section and sweep with your dominant side, then halfway down, switch sides. This works best with a standard broom, but you can use the same technique with a push broom. Make sure you alternate the hand that is in front on the broom handle, and the side of your body,
This project ended up being equal to about 75 push ups!
Back and bicep workout with raking and shoveling
I mentioned we have a bit of property right? We also have a lot of oak trees that drop a lot of leaves. During the year there are places on the property that if ignored, can swallow your leg up to your knee if you aren’t careful.
Raking leaves on a short lawn is pretty easy. Leaves that are that thick start to decompose. They are heavy, wet and don’t want to move very easily.
Any shoveling is guaranteed to be working back and biceps. As with any other yard work project, try and balance out the work between both sides of your body. This is especially hard with shoveling, but even more important. Keep your abs tight for better back protection.
You will be feeling the work in your lats and upper back with the reach of the shovel, engaging the biceps with the lift. I didn’t count the number of shovelfuls we moved, but this pile took 2 hours to move.
Use your yard work workout to help your yard look amazing.
There are a lot of ways to keep moving on the weekend, even when you have stuff you have to do. Yard work is a great excuse to fit your workout into your schedule.
What got you moving this weekend? Comment with details… and share how sore you are!
Go get your fit on.
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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