Developed exclusively for Ronseal by Nicki Waterman

With so many demands on your time, getting to the gym may not always fit into your schedule. If you find yourself swamped with chores, why not make the most of them? Try to turn your gardening into a mini workout. It’ll make you feel good and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour in more ways than one. Pottering around also reduces stress, lowers cholesterol and burns about 340 calories in an hour. Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day in the garden; it will do your lawn as well as your body and soul, a wealth of good.

Here are some ways to cultivate some muscle while you tend to your garden.

Average calories used in an hour


(Figures are kilocalories burned by a 10-stone person)

Carrying heavy loads


Chopping logs quickly


Collecting grass or leaves




Mowing lawn with a push-along mower


Planting seedlings/shrubs


Raking lawn




Pruning shrubs




NOTE: Please be sure to get the all clear from your doctor before taking part in any exercise programme.

1.)STEP-UPS Warm-up
Put on your favourite music and start with some light gardening, like weeding and picking things up or doing some step-ups using a chunky bench, stepped decking or a solid garden step for three to five minutes. You know you've warmed up enough when your joints feel looser and your muscles are pliable but you're not breaking a sweat.


Target: upper back, legs and buttock muscles (280 cals burned in 30 mins)

No matter how large your lawn is, always use a push mower. It may seem heavy at first, but you’ll get used to it. Then put some muscle into pushing the mower forward as far as you can, then back again. The mower alone will give you some good resistance if it's heavy enough, but make sure to move slowly enough to get a good stretch. To begin a walking lunge, stand upright holding onto the mower. Now take a lunge forward while never letting your knee go 'over' your toe. Once at the bottom of the lunge (not touching the floor), push off with the back foot and then approach the standing position. Repeat with the other leg. Make sure to breathe out on the way up and breathe in on the actual lunge. Do three sets of 10.

3.)RONSEAL SHRUGS (145 cals burned in 30 mins)
Targets: shoulders
Take two 2.5 litre tubs of product (make sure they’ve got a handle) and, holding one in each hand, do 20 shoulder shrugs. The key is to stand up straight and try to bring your shoulders to your ears. Do not roll your shoulders with this exercise. Concentrate on maintaining good posture. Holding the shrug at the top for one second helps the muscle become stronger. Now you're pumped and ready to clean the patio.

Target: arms, upper back and tummy (180 cals burned in 30 mins)

Whether it's the decking or patio, ditch that broom and scrub by hand to remove all dirt, moss and algae. The harder you work, the better. Push yourself even more by extending your torso and exaggerating your arm movements and then do the upright row exercise by kneeling and positioning foot of opposite leg slightly back to side. Grasp brush from floor and pull brush to side until it makes contact with ribs or until upper arm is just beyond horizontal. Return until arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward. Repeat 15 times and continue with your opposite arm. Try not to rotate your body in an effort to throw the brush up. Your body should be close to horizontal. Positioning the supporting knee and/or arm slightly forward or back will allow for proper levelling of your body.


Targets: front and back of arms back (290 cals burned in 30 mins)

Digging with a spade is draining work, but that’s a good thing. While you may not need a lot of holes in your borders, you can work up a healthy sweat turning your compost pile and working the backs of your arms at the same time. Simply position the spade overhead with both hands. Then with elbows overhead, lower forearms behind upper arm by flexing your elbows. Flex your wrists at the bottom to avoid hitting the spade on the back of your neck. Raise the spade overhead by extending your elbows while hyper-extending wrists. Return and repeat 20 times. While doing this exercise, try and position wrists closer together to keep elbows from pointing out too much. Let the spade pull the arm back to maintain full shoulder flexion.

6.)PLANTING SQUATS (252 cals burned in 30 mins)

Target: Legs, buttocks and thighs

Slowly squat down when planting the packs of new bedding plants off the ground, keeping your back straight and your heels on the floor. Do not let your upper back round forward. Include one squat for every plant you put into a pot or border. Try and do 15 squats in a row

7.)GARDEN FURNITURE CLEANING -Triceps Circles (200 cals in 30 mins)

Target: shoulders and triceps (backs of arms)

Form 10 circles to the right, then 10 to the left. This is a great all-purpose cleaning motion, and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Make sure you do this exercise while cleaning all your garden furniture and pots.

8.)BAN THE BLOWER AND USE A RAKE (180 cals in 30 mins)

Target: back, arms and shoulders

Not only will a leaf blower make your ears ring, it’s also the easy way out. Get out your rake and use some elbow grease to clean up your lawn. When you find your upper body starts getting tired, change your grip so that your muscles are targeted in a different way. Keep in mind, the harder and faster you rake, the better the workout.


Targets: biceps (front of arms)

Rather than just using your watering can to water your plants, put it to work as a dumbbell of sorts. Fill it partially with water and curl it to work your biceps. Do 20 repetitions then switch sides.

10.)PROTECTING FENCE WITH RONSEAL (apply with wide brush) (195 cals in 30 mins)

Target: All over body.

Getting someone in to protect your fence may seem an easy option but you’ll feel proud of your shiny new fence by putting some effort in. You’ll also improve flexibility and upper body strength, as well as save money!

11.)RUBBISH RESISTANCE (185 cals in 30 mins)

Target: upper arms, back, and shoulders
Take out the old leaves and plants to the rubbish bin holding large refuse sacks in each hand, lifting them directly above your head. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lower, repeating 15 times. As you get stronger, you will either need more weight to feel fatigued or simply do more reps.


By walking at a brisk pace, then slowing down gradually, you’re giving yourself a good cool-down. The resistance of the barrow bumps up the intensity. Then stand and stretch all your major muscle groups – holding each stretch for 10 seconds;

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Stand and hold onto a wall for balance if needed. Grab the top of the right foot and bend your knee, bringing the foot towards the buttocks, knee pointing straight at the floor. You should feel a stretch right down the front of your leg. You can squeeze your hips forward a little to feel it more in the hip flexors. Switch sides

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand and lift one leg straight out in front of your body with the heel resting on a flat surface like a chair. Keeping your back straight, and the other leg bent, slide your hands slowly down the front of your shin. You should feel the stretch in the middle of the hamstring muscle. Switch sides.

Standing Calf Stretch
Face a wall and stand about 12 inches away from it. Extend one leg behind you, keeping both feet flat on the floor and your rear knee straight. Then,

lean toward the wall until you feel tension in the calf muscle of the extended leg (you can put your arms on the wall for support.) Repeat with the other leg.

Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Sit or stand and clasp your hands together behind your back, arms straight. Lift your hands towards the ceiling, going only as high as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest.

Upper Back Stretch

Clasp your hands together in front of you and round your back towards the floor, pressing your arms away from your body to feel a stretch in your upper back.

Shoulder Stretch

Take right arm straight across your chest and curl the left hand around your elbow, gently pulling on the right arm to deepen the stretch in the shoulders. Switch sides.

Triceps Stretch

Bend the left elbow behind your head and use the right hand to gently pull the left elbow in further until you feel a stretch in your tricep. Switch sides and repeat.

Side Stretch

Sitting or standing, clasp your hands straight up overhead, palms facing the ceiling. Gently lower to the right side until you feel a stretch down your left side. Switch sides and repeat.

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