Weeding, mowing, raking and digging benefit your bones as well as your garden. University of Arkansas researchers found that women older than 50 who gardened at least once a week had higher bone-density scores than women who jogged, swam, walked or cycled.

In addition to building bones, yard work also burns calories. According to Sherry Rindels of the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University in Ames, 30 minutes of gardening equates roughly to the following caloric expenditures:

Calories Burned

Activity

Muscle Groups Worked

Digging

150-200

upper body, back, legs

Mowing (push mower)

180-236

whole body

Planting/transplanting

135-180

hands, forearms, shoulders, upper back

Raking

120-157

arms, shoulders, back, hamstrings, buttocks

Weeding (pulling, not spraying)

138-181

arms, legs, hips, buttocks, hamstrings