Calories Burned While Weeding

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Weeding may not be your favorite activity but it does help you move more. Find out how many calories are burned when weeding.

If you have some type of garden, you likely need to pull weeds at least every once in a while. One of the things that can make this task less unpleasant is knowing that you are burning a few extra calories.

The average person can expect to burn around 133 – 229+ calories per 30 minutes of weeding at a moderate effort. This number will vary from individual to individual due to a variety of factors.

For example, a 125-pound (56 kg) individual will burn around 97 calories while weeding for 30 minutes at a moderate effort.

On the other hand, a 215-pound (97 kg) individual will burn around 178 calories while weeding for 30 minutes at the same intensity.

This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account, differences between weeding effort levels, how it compares to other popular gardening tasks, and more.

Biggest influences on calories burned

A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like pulling weeds is hard to predict and measure correctly.

This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game when you are trying to balance these numbers with the calories in food.

Even so, good estimations for the number of calories burned while weeding can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.

Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn while weeding include:

  • Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy your body needs to fuel its movements.
  • Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
  • Intensity: If you’re looking at calories burned per minute of weeding this can vary a lot by taking your time vs really putting in the effort to get the task done fast.
  • State of the garden: Not all weeds are the exact same, some will be more challenging than others. That means the state of your garden also determines how much energy the task will require from your body.

Estimations calories burned weeding

The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned while weeding into between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).

In reality, there are tools to make more precise estimations. To calculate calories burned during certain activities more specifically you can use a formula with MET values.

A MET value is an activity-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of movement is. This number represents how many times more intense the activity is compared to sitting still.

You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

Estimations for METs while weeding depend on the intensity and vary from 3.5 at weeding at a light effort to 5 at vigorous-effort weeding (2).

You can look at the number of calories burned while weeding from different perspectives. The first table will show the calories burned with the MET estimation of weeding at a moderate effort for different body weights and time intervals.

After that, you can find a chart comparing the number of calories burned for different intensities of weeding and how weeding compares to a few other popular gardening tasks.

Again keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain important factors that do influence the number of calories burned while weeding.

To put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).

Calories burned while weeding

One of the most convenient ways to see how many calories you burned while weeding is by looking at how much time you spent doing it.

These estimations are for the number of calories burned while weeding at a moderate effort.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds (56 kg)4 calories66 calories133 calories199 calories266 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)5 calories82 calories165 calories247 calories330 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)7 calories98 calories197 calories295 calories393 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)8 calories114 calories229 calories343 calories457 calories
Chart of calories burned with moderate-effort weeding

Calories burned with weeding at different intensities

Next, there is the chart for calories burned while weeding at different effort levels. These numbers represent doing the activity for 30 minutes.

As you can see, the intensity of your weeding session makes a difference in terms of how many calories you burn.

Weeding Effort
Weight Person
(Light Effort)
(Moderate Effort)
(Vigorous Effort)
125 Pounds (56 kg)103 calories133 calories148 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)128 calories165 calories183 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)153 calories197 calories219 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)178 calories299 calories254 calories
Calories burned per 30 minutes of different weeding effort levels

Calories burned weeding vs other gardening tasks

Weeding is a common task but there are plenty of other gardening tasks. These have different activity levels and will in turn burn different numbers of calories.

In the table below you can find estimations of calories burned with some of the most popular gardening tasks like mowing the lawn, shoveling dirt, raking leaves, etc. when doing the activity for 30 minutes.

Weight Person
Gardening Task
155 Pounds (70 kg)185 Pounds (83 kg)215 Pounds (97 kg)
Watering Lawn55 calories66 calories76 calories
(Light Effort)
55 calories55 calories55 calories
Raking Leaves139 calories166 calories193 calories
(Moderate Effort)
165 calories197 calories229 calories
Pushing Power Mower183 calories219 calories254 calories
(Vigorous Effort)
183 calories219 calories254 calories
Shoveling Snow194 calories232 calories269 calories
Shoveling Dirt201 calories240 calories279 calories
Calories burned per 30 minutes weeding vs other gardening activities

Ways to burn more calories while weeding

The number of calories burned while weeding is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per time interval.

The challenge for most people is fitting in activities in their busy schedules. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time, which means burning more calories per minute of weeding.

If you do have more time, spending more time weeding will generally burn more calories as long as you don’t overdo it.

A more obvious way to burn more calories while weeding is doing this task at higher speeds (as long as you can do so in a safe way).

The second way to burn more calories with weeding is by making the weight you have to carry around heavier.

In theory, you could do this by wearing a weighted vest, ankle weights, or wrist weights. A more realistic method for an activity like weeding is building some extra muscle mass with other exercises outside of your gardening time.

Can you lose weight from weeding?

Weeding is an activity that can help you burn a few extra calories. In combination with good habits in other lifestyle areas, this can then lead to weight loss.

A pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from weeding will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.

One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intensely to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.

10 sessions of 30 minutes of weeding can help you burn an extra 1650 calories which are about 0.47 pounds of body fat. 30 sessions 4950 calories (= +- 1.41 pounds of body fat) and so on…

Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be suboptimal. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.

Muscles used when weeding

When weeding, you use muscles like your lower back, upper back, biceps, forearm muscles, triceps, shoulders, chest, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

That being said, even if you never do any resistance training, weeding will likely not be enough to help you grow and strengthen these muscles.

If that is your goal, you want to turn to resistance training exercises where you use extra weights.

Should you pull weeds to burn calories?

As you can see, weeding can be described as a light workout that can burn some extra calories. That being said, there are plenty of other activities that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

You should likely see the number of calories burned while weeding as a nice benefit of this task. Once you are done with this activity you can turn to other activities to really start seeing results.

If calorie burning is your main goal and you regularly have to pull weeds, implementing some exercises in your schedule specifically for building muscle can be helpful.

The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out, including during your weeding sessions.

Also keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what movement routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.