The amount of calories you burn by using a leaf blower is around 170 calories per hour. That’s the extra calories burned by someone weighing 68 kg compared to doing nothing.
How many calories would you burn by using a rake instead? Much depends on how hard you go. Gently raking the lawn is estimated to burn an extra 224 calories per hour, which is 54 calories more that using a leaf blower.
But a 68 kg person working steadily at gardening for an hour can burn between 450 and 525 calories — nearly as much as someone swimming or playing basketball for the same amount of time, according to the Calorie Control Council. For comparison purposes, a 68 kg human burns around 68 calories per hour while sitting still.
Do yourself a favour. Grab a rake or a broom and blow off your blower. Leaf blowers are loud enough to ruin your hearing — and jangle your neighbour’s nerves. Plus they pollute the air. And they cheat you out of beneficial and pleasant exercise.
The racket made by a typical, petrol-powered leaf blower over time can deafen the operator with up to 100 decibels of noise, as compared with 30 decibels for rustling leaves and 65 decibels for normal conversation. The World Health Organization recommends ear protection for noise of 75dB and higher.
Leaf Blower Pollution
The two-cycle petrol engines that run blowers burn fuel in an inefficient manner. Leaf blowers emit so much hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate pollution that a single unit creates as much smog as 17 cars, according to the American Lung Association of Sacramento.
Fitness Benefits of Raking
Wielding a blower may be hot and noisy work, but it doesn’t compare with the gentle, whole-body stretch you get when raking the lawn or hand-powering a push broom down the sidewalk. In both raking and sweeping, you are stretching your upper body, lower back and legs. Just be sure to wear work gloves to avoid blisters, and alternate gardening activities so you don’t get stiff.
If you work long enough at a brisk pace, you not only will burn calories but also may raise your heart rate and gain the benefits of a mini-aerobic workout. Warning: If you have a medical condition or have been sedentary for a long time, be sure to consult a medical professional before engaging in strenuous exercise.
And Find Inner Peace
A quiet hour spent tidying the lawn on a crisp day can become a meditative moment. You can lose yourself in the work and the sights of the turning leaves, the birds and animals, and the clouds skittering across in the sky.
The best part is right before you bag the leaves for recycling, when you jump into a towering heap of crunchy leaves. What the heck, no one’s looking. Do it a couple of times.