Leaf blowing

Leaf Blower vs Rake: Calories Burned

posted in: Fitness

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.

Noise Comparison

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.

4 Responses

  1. Christian
    | Reply

    Hahaha, I love this discussion! I’ve talked about the beauty of just using a rake with my grandchildren. That technology is just too advanced and everyone wants it one and done these days. A rake will let you enjoy the slower pace of life and will definitely give you a workout! Let’s face it we all need the workout anyway.

  2. Matt Glover
    | Reply

    Okay, so this is something that I have been arguing with my brother over for months. THANK YOU for writing about this. I can’t wait to show him. He tried telling me that I was doing it the easier way. I told him that shoveling and using a rake are a lot more intense workouts than simply using a blower!

  3. Carole Prevost
    | Reply

    I have a 1/2 acre lot in a neighborhood full of beautiful large oaks, hickories, maples, dogwoods, etc. Raking is not feasible. My corded electric leaf blower/vac makes it manageable. And the vacuum feature shreds the leaves into a perfect organic mulch and compost for my flower beds and veggie garden. Contrary to the previous commenter, this is no job for a lazy person. I am always sore and tired after a few hours clearing the leaves. But it’s a good kind of tired!

  4. Freddie Edwards
    | Reply

    I’ve never understood why people get leaf blowers. It really is the epitome of laziness. If you don’t like raking leaves, hire someone to do it. On an unrelated note, I was unaware that gardening burns so many calories. No wonder I rarely see any chubby gardeners! LOL. I’ll have to take up gardening next season.

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