Can Mowing The Lawn Keep You In Shape?

Can Mowing The Lawn Keep You In Shape?

Let's talk about lawn cardio. No, I'm not talking about doing pushups and jumping jacks in your front yard. I'm talking about taking out your good old fashioned push mower and getting in the workout of your life.

That's right. I'm talking pushing, pulling, working with inclines, running, walking, and sweating gallons. I'd be willing to bet you've never thought of mowing the lawn like that before. You probably look at it as a chore. That ominous task hovering overhead on which you will have to spend your valuable free time on.

Shirtless guy mowing the lawn.

That’s only because you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. By approaching a lawn mowing session as a workout, not only will you have more fun doing it, but you’ll be on your way to dropping that beer gut, and shredding your abs. I’m talking about a summer body you can be proud of!

Is Mowing The Lawn Actually Cardio, Though?

Yes, in fact it is. Cardiovascular exercise is defined as any movement that keeps your heart rate above 50% of its maximum level for an extended period (usually 20 - 30 minutes). Some common examples of cardio are:

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    Riding your bike
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    Carrying heavy objects

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of cardio a day, five days a week. It's good for your muscles, it burns calories, and most of all goes a long way to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Obviously, you can't mow the lawn every day, but even once a week will make a huge difference.

While you're mowing the lawn, you're usually walking and pushing a mower that weighs at least a hundred pounds. Often, you're pushing and pulling up hills and inclines. You're engaging both your core, upper, and lower body to maneuver that mower all around the nooks and crannies of your yard.

If you’ve never been sweating and exhausted after cutting the grass, then you must have a robotic lawn mower. There’s a reason that the old man down the street is still cutting his own grass and cracking open cold beers at 85 years old. It’s probably because he never stopped cutting his own grass.

Let's Kick It Up A Notch

So hopefully by now, I've convinced you that mowing your lawn is indeed cardio. But maybe you already knew that. Perhaps you workout and do cardio every day and think that it's not hard enough to be considered cardio. You're probably a fan of high-intensity interval training.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is a great way to burn fat. It involves ramping up your heart rate to 80% of your maximum for 30-45 seconds, and then resting or doing light cardio for 45 seconds - a minute.

This stimulates your metabolism to burn extra fat, and build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the fibers which promote lean muscle growth. HIIT is also great for your heart since your body is pumping tons of oxygen into your bloodstream throughout the workout.

Just as a walk around the block can be kicked up to a sprint around the block, a simple lawn mowing session can be kicked up to a high-intensity, fat melting workout session. Here’s an example of how to turn your lawn mowing into the ultimate HIIT workout:

  • Do a few minutes of stretching; you're going to need it
  • Start your workout off with 100 jumping jacks to warm up
  • Crank up your mower
  • Take a look at your yard and organize it into stripes
  • You're going to spring full speed (while pushing the mower) for a single stripe. This is the high-intensity part.
  • On the return stripe just walk as you normally would. This is the resting part.
  • Repeat the sprints followed by walks until your entire lawn is cut
Shirtless guy mowing the lawn.

Depending on the size of your lawn, this session could take anywhere from 15-45 minutes, and it is guaranteed to push you to your limits, especially if it’s a hot summer day.

So there you have it! The ultimate HIIT workout and the only equipment that you need is a lawnmower. It doesn't get too much simpler than that. Not only will the fat melt off like butter, but you'll have a fresh-cut yard afterward.


I rest my case. Mowing your lawn is a great way to stay in shape over the weekend. Not only will it give you an excuse to get outdoors and soak up the sunshine, but it’s good for your heart, will burn calories, and get you one step closer to having six-pack abs.

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