This week for Frugally Fit Friday (err... Saturday) I want to focus on the amazing workout of yard work. It may not be a glorious task, but it can definitely be a workout, which I have learned more with this new house. So before you go out and buy a riding mower, or pay someone to landscape or mow check out some of the numbers that I ran this week.
On Thursday, I decided to be nice and mow our yard. Normally this is something that my husband does, but with his new job he gets off work later and he's been doing a lot of side jobs, so his "to do" list was getting long. We have currently have a push mower on permanent loan. At our old house that we rented just our front yard was over 0.1 mile long, so there was no way that you could push mow it, so we used the owners' riding mower. At our new place we have a medium/small yard (in rural Indiana terms), so push mowing is an option. This was the first time that I have push mowed it.
I thought I would surprise him and have it all done. Well, it was just a trick to get the mower started. A little bit of shoulder strengthening exercises is what I could label it as. Then I had to push it through our grass. I hadn't thought that our grass was super tall, but my husband has informed me that I am weird in that I like tall grass. Apparently the grass was long because I could barely push the mower through the grass without it almost dying. Also, it was hard to push the mower through the grass because of how long it was. Maybe I'll have to rethink my long grass love, or else I'll have to learn how to raise the deck of the mower.
I only killed the mower once. I'm still not sure whether it was lack of gas or too long of grass, but it definitely died. I gave it some more gas (even though, from what I could tell it didn't need a lot) and promptly partially flooded the mower. I found out later that you don't need to push the red ball if the mower is "warm." I pushed through the back yard and the sun was blazing down. It felt good though. I definitely felt alive. Our carpenter bees (who's days are numbered) were very upset though. I rolled my eyes at them and kept moving (they don't sting, just act very territorial).
By the time I reached the front yard I was getting pretty tired, but I was determined to finish it all. We have a half mound septic system in our front yard and a ditch, so I really worked hard going up and down the mound. This is how I felt like I looked.
Luckily when I was about halfway done with the front my husband came home and I went in and made us up some food. All in all I had push mowed for two hours- non - self propelled.
Being the curious person that I am, I looked up the calorie count. With my weight, I burned over 500 calories! Not too bad if I say so myself. I think all of the neighbors thought I was crazy though because they all have riding lawn mowers. I want to put off buying one as long as possible, because a 500 calorie workout is something that I need on a regular basis. I like workouts like this one because I am accomplishing something other than just exercising. Maybe I'll take over more of the mowing chores this summer.
I figure doing yard work like push mowing saves me money in two ways. First, we currently have a free to us (permanent loan) push mower. We would have to go out an buy a riding mower. Push mowers cost only a couple hundred bucks (if you can convince your significant other to get a reel mower they are even cheaper). Riding mowers are easily $1000-$3000, and some are more than that. Push mowers also use less gas (once again- if you can convince your significant other (I can't yet) to get a reel mower, gas isn't an issue, also there are electric mowers out there as well). Having someone come mow our yard would cost at least $30 a pop. Finally, if I went to our local gym to get that amazing lawn mowing workout it would cost me $40/month in membership fees. So overall, push mowing our yard is a huge $$ saver and helps keeps me and the Mr. healthy!
Here is a website that you can go to to look up calories burned by yard work activity and by your weight: Calorie Lab. They have lots and lots of other calorie calculators. I find them motivating when I'm not feeling like doing a certain job.
If you need motivation here is a good video I found online (I think Mr. Money Mustache posted it) about the benefits of fitness (and my kind of fitness - low/medium level- not the gym rat level). Enjoy!