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Mowing the Yard - Does it count?



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JEZEBELSK
SparkPoints: (16,276)
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Posts: 920
5/7/12 7:41 P

As for myself, I did not mow the grass as I got bigger. Now I have token the chore from hubby, so I think it counts as exercise for me!



APORTER475
Posts: 25
5/7/12 2:26 P

Yes and no. Nobody can really argue that you are burning more calories mowing your lawn that you are sitting on the couch watching tv. However, as many other pointed out, you gained weight over time...and over all that time, you were probably still mowing your lawn. There are many "every day" activities that Spark gives you the ability to count...I know playing with children is one. But it's really all so subjective, isn't it? When I mow my lawn, I use it as an opportunity to work out...so I push hard to get it done as quickly as I can, and improve my time every week...trust me, by the time I am done (about an hour) I am red-faced, sweating, and breathing hard. So, even though my lawn is ridiculous to mow...I have a push mower and two extremely steep hills, I do not count mowing the lawn as fitness minutes/calories burned. However, if you are two tired to do any additional exercise that day, I wouldn't feel bad about it! :)



ANDRAYAYA
Posts: 2,046
5/7/12 8:25 A

If it's a push mower, DEFINITELY!



DMDJR1
SparkPoints: (1,525)
Fitness Minutes: (2,298)
Posts: 15
5/7/12 7:27 A

I have a push mower, and a steeeeeeep hill! I use the tracker to see how much I burned, but not to replace my regular workout. I can tell you my arms are looking great after just 2 months I see a lot of definition jumping out in a way that the gym didn't make happen for me.



MAYBER
SparkPoints: (76,928)
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Posts: 8,999
5/4/12 5:48 P

definitely by the time I get done am sweating and head for the shower
is vacuuming considered exercise
One day/exercise at a time



ANNAKBASS
Posts: 68
5/4/12 5:46 P

Last summer I wore my GPS when I mowed our lawn. Yes, it's a self propelled mower, but it still requires muscle to make the corners. I walked 3.5 miles behind that thing! I usually don't actually count it as part of my fitness, but in the back of my mind I know that I've moved for 3.5 miles and I feel pretty good about that because any movement is good movement.



JEZEBELSK
SparkPoints: (16,276)
Fitness Minutes: (7,953)
Posts: 920
5/4/12 4:49 P

I spent an hour mowing the hilliest yard in Kansas City on Saturday, and I certainly counted it on my cardio. It isn't a chore I do every day, like picking up toys or laundry, and I got hot, sweaty, and felt the muscles working. If you feel it is a workout, then I say it was!





GOALMOTO
SparkPoints: (27,482)
Fitness Minutes: (58,605)
Posts: 205
5/3/12 8:34 P

When I use my push lawn mower i wear my pediometer. By the time I get done I have walked 3 mile or more depending if I mow it in different directions. this take me 60 minutes. I also take my pulse and it is 162 bpm and some times higher. now if this isnt exercise what is it. besides yardwork with a high heart rate.



HEALTHYOTTER
Posts: 946
5/3/12 5:36 P

I use gardening as my closest category for mowing the lawn.



JONEC14333
SparkPoints: (28,230)
Fitness Minutes: (15,004)
Posts: 444
5/3/12 4:35 P

Yes. Look for it under "Cardio Minutes" Other. Consider using the old fashioned push mower. Riding does not count.



CICELY360
Posts: 2,665
5/3/12 12:58 P

If you are walking, it does. On a riding mower, no.



DRAGONFLY02
Posts: 1,208
5/3/12 12:43 P

My husband and I have seen our very fit mail carrier, who walks his mail route, out riding his bike on a local bike-hike trail a couple times. My husband asked him about it once and he said he tries to ride his bike 3X a week for exercise. Apparently carrying a mail bag and walking his mail route is not exercise for him!!! Not saying I wouldn't count the lawn mowing as exercise, but I thought it was cool that this guy still exercises despite having a job that helps him burn more calories.



EEEEELIZABETH
SparkPoints: (12,036)
Fitness Minutes: (15,771)
Posts: 99
5/3/12 12:28 P

well... it's not a contest ... and there's no rule book ... so i think it is up to each individual to decide on their own ....

that said, for me, yard work is not cardio minutes .... i need my cardio minutes to be intentional ME time where i am doing exercise for ME .... to make the time to do it ... to be willing to spend the time doing it ... to not be multitasking but focusing just on exercise .... when i do something vigorous, like run up and down my stairs 20 times for my house chores, i just consider it a bonus ... my dog walks are even a bonus ... i don't count multi tasking at cardio minutes .... lawn mowing, bonus ... but i don't want those other things to prevent me from jogging or being on the treadmill or biking .... that's what got me needing spark people in the first place! not taking the time to exercise as much as i need to .... for me, i want to exercise for exercise's sake ... all the other times i am burning calories and elevating my heart rate are just part of living a healthy life style .....

but, if you told me you've scheduled your workouts to include an hour of lawn mowing, i would not dream of criticizing that .... especially since i don't mow the lawn in my family!



PAPAMIKIE
SparkPoints: (41,536)
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Posts: 3,861
5/3/12 12:21 P

One issue with this type of activity is shown below

When Gramie mows the lawn it takes More than two hours
Mowing Lawn: Push, Power Minutes: 120 Calories: 648

When Popie mows the lawn it takes less than an hours
Mowing Lawn: Push, Power Minutes: 60 Calories: 324

there is a difference of 324 calories, although the same work was done. Yes I know her calories will be a little different due to differences, but I could take two hours to mow the lawn if I wanted to.

This does not mean it is not exercise, it does not mean it does not burn calories, it does not mean you should not track it; it just means, I have no idea how many calories it burns as there are too many variables. it is like pulling a number out of the air.

This is my last 2 cents worth.

Edited by: PAPAMIKIE at: 5/3/2012 (12:22)


CRINKLYMONKEY
SparkPoints: (4,750)
Fitness Minutes: (3,646)
Posts: 155
5/3/12 12:08 P

I hope it would count. It almost kills me when i have to do it. LOL



GOALMOTO
SparkPoints: (27,482)
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Posts: 205
5/3/12 12:00 P

Yes it should be considered exercise. you are push a lawn mower and walking and also burning calories.



SHOAPIE
SparkPoints: (212,158)
Fitness Minutes: (92,793)
Posts: 14,188
5/3/12 10:02 A

Yes it does. Spark people lists it in exercises. Look it up and add it to your favorites.



KIMMIT326
Posts: 62
5/3/12 9:47 A

I think mowing the yard definitely counts. We have a push mower and a very big yard, with ditches and slopes also. We once had kids come ask us to cut the grass for $40, there were two kids, both with mowers, and poor things took over 3 hours to cut it! I felt bad so I had paid them $80 instead. I takes me anywhere from 2-4 hours just to cut the darn grass, and afterwards I am tired, and exhausted, especially my arms.



RUMBAMEL
Posts: 1,942
5/3/12 9:27 A

To anyone who has every mowed our yard, they would say a resounding "YES". It is awful. Hills, ditches, steep slopes, curves and it's deceivingly big. We had friends mow it while we were gone and surprisingly they didn't offer to mow it again. I get allergy migraines when I mow it so hubby has to do it. He always breaks a sweat and has to take breaks on hot days.

Our yard is exercise.

rumbamel



PAPAMIKIE
SparkPoints: (41,536)
Fitness Minutes: (87,039)
Posts: 3,861
5/3/12 9:26 A

My point was two fold.

1) if a construction worker indicates in his/her profile that they are very active daily due to heavy physical work that s/he does, then Sparks will adjust their calories higher than mine (before exercise) because I do an office job with lots of sitting. So let us say that Sparks give him/her 1000 calories more before exercise due to the daily heavy work. If s/he now tracks the work as 1000 calories, then s/he is double counting 1000. This will not work out too well for weight management.

2) Several posters have talked about how they modify their tracking of things like yard work as half cardio and half strength training, and perhaps drop a little out for good measure. The reason for these adjustments is that the activity does not fit the criteria.

I note in my post below, that a friend and I both use heart rate monitors and calorie estimates for heart rate, and yet we have had to adjust the results by 20% difference. We are both runners, and running is one of the things most studied and is therefore going to have the best chance of working out with the math. The math has build in assumption; this is why you should not expect a heart rate monitor to give you a good estimate for yoga, Tai Chi, yard work, etc. None of these activities match the assumptions related to the mathematical model. As a result the number you get is just pulled out of the air. It may be correct, it may not be. My friend and I are both doing the activities that best fit the model and yet over time we have made adjustments that amount to about 200 calories a day.

This is why Sparks does not provide a calorie burn for strength training. It is not that Strength training do not burn calories, it clearly does, however, there is no reliable model to get even a bad estimate for how many calories are burned.

The first issue above is the most important one. If you have included the calories once when you set up your profile, as in my example, then you should not double count.

My point about my estimate also notes that we must not only push in numbers, we must look at the outcome in the real world (weight or inches lost, etc.) to see if the numbers work well for us. If they do than track them, if the do not then make some adjustments. I make an assumption that the reason I need to reduce my calorie estimate down by 10-15% and my friend needs to adjust hers up by 10% accounts for something different in our physiology; however, I make this assumption because over time we each arrive at an adjustment that seemed to work. I have no real basis for saying why it works.






LADYVALK
SparkPoints: (131,937)
Fitness Minutes: (86,443)
Posts: 6,507
5/3/12 9:19 A

I actually have worn my HRM while working in the yard and if I get my heart rate up I show it as exercise..



SUNSHINESKYWAY
Posts: 545
5/3/12 9:16 A

Why not?! It is physical.



SBANSCH
Posts: 264
5/3/12 9:05 A

If you break into a sweat and are breathing hard - it is counts as excerise!



PAULOBRY
Posts: 1,611
5/3/12 8:39 A

I have logged my yard work in the cardio tracker. That accomplishs two things:
1) adds the extra calorie burn to the tracker and
2) tracks the activity in the fitness minutes for SparkAmerica (I realize and would agree that a more accurate definition would exclude this type of activity, but if so, then shouldn't Sparkpeople remove this as a option on the tracker?)

I realize that my heart rate doesn't get in the target zone that I would like to see for a "true" cardio workout. But, hey.....there are six other days in the week to accomplish that.

Concentrate on getting your cardio in for your minimum (e.g. 3 days, 4 day, etc.) and don't overdo it and risk heat stroke by combining a high heat index of yard work with the anyone's belief that "you have to do something else". Absolutely feel very good about not being REQUIRED to working out on the yard work day.



AMYROSIE4
SparkPoints: (10,998)
Fitness Minutes: (7,695)
Posts: 128
5/3/12 8:22 A

I love this discussion! As I just mowed my lawn yesterday with my beat up old push-mower (my nice self-propelled one is one the fritz) and it took me 1 1/2 hours, I have a slight hill in the front yard (got a good calf workout) and a very bumpy backyard & navigating around the garden, swingset, deck & landscaping (really worked my arms) and had to empty out the bagger several times, then haul the grass clipping bins back into the front yard & empty into the truck, then drive to the public works building and empty the bins out into the community grass clipping pile (those bins are HEAVY), all the while my heart is pumping, I'm sweating, had to stop several times to catch my breath & suck down the water (hhmmm....just like when I'm doing a tough workout video) I counted this as exercise. As I said, the whole process took 1 1/2 hours. I counted a 1/2 hour as cardio, and a 1/2 hour as strength training. I figure the remaining 1/2 hour didn't count as anything, since I did stop several times for 30-60 seconds to drink water/catch my breath. I know some may not agree with me, and that's fine. I listen to what my body tells me...it tells me that what I did was a workout! My legs, knees, shoulders, & arms are sore this morning....just like when I workout. Most of my workout videos are only 30-45 minutes long, not 1 1/2 hours.

I say do what makes sense & feels right to you. If you're getting a guilty feeling while you're entering stuff (exercise or calories) into your trackers, then you already know that you're over- or under-estimating things. By doing this, you're only hurting yourself and holding yourself back from achieving your goals. If you've been doing it that way for a few weeks & not seeing results, then you know it's time to start being honest with your tracking.

That's my two cents worth! Good luck everyone!
emoticon emoticon



KEL_BEL_FX3
Posts: 2,862
5/3/12 8:22 A

I'm in an apt now but two years ago when I was in my house and mowing the lawn once a week, I absolutely counted it. I had a 1/2 acre lot, I used a push mower and it absolutely got my heart rate up. It's in the fitness tracker for a reason. If I cut the yard in one day it took me at least an hour some times an hour and a half depending on the heat and grass length. On those days I had no energy left for a different cardio workout so I most definitely counted it. If your heart rate is up consistently and you notice a change in your breathing count it.



GAILRUU
Posts: 9,887
5/3/12 8:20 A

Try pushing a lawnmower up a hill! That will get your heart rate up. I even have one of those old fashioned reel mowers which I use on some of the level areas in my yard. It absolutely gets my heart rate up. While our riding lawnmower does the job faster it doesn't use much of my energy.



ADKONKLE
SparkPoints: (37,744)
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Posts: 875
5/3/12 8:07 A

Every step counts and it is in the cardio tracker. I have a pretty small lawn, but use a rotary push mower (prison mower) and it works up a sweat. Now if mowing the lawn means sitting on the riding lawn mower...

So if you are walking it counts, it is up to the user to make the most of it. I only count other household chores if is a deep cleaning kind of thing that tires you out. Deliberate inefficiency however can turn into a great workout. (Taking 4 trips up and down the stairs to instead of that should only take one)





DRAGONFLY02
Posts: 1,208
5/3/12 7:54 A

I think Sharon-Marie got it just right. While I don't count mowing my yard, which is 1/3 an acre and flat and takes 20 minutes, as a fitness workout, I will count my big gardening day as my workout. That's because I will spend most of a day digging up my several gardens, getting rid of weeds, planting flowers, etc. and I'm usually quite sore and exhausted at the end. However, I might still end my day with a 3-mile walk as walking relaxes me and helps stretch out all those muscles I worked all day. But when I do track the gardening in my fitness tracker, I actually err on the side of caution in how much time I put in because I don't want to over-estimate my calorie burn.

However, if after a hot afternoon of mowing the lawn, you don't want to do a separate cardio workout, it's not the end of the world because you didn't do what is considered by some as "real" exercise. That's perfectly fine. It's your prerogative and skipping a workout because you're tired from doing something else physical is not a bad thing. It's better to skip a workout because you've been doing work on your feet all day rather than skipping because you'd rather veg out on the couch, eat junk and do nothing.



VICSAC
Posts: 418
5/3/12 7:50 A

The only difference I see between going for a 30 minute walk and walking for 30 minutes pushing a mower is the later is harder.

Those that are of the opinion that chores can never count as exercise seem to forget that the reason people have to now schedule exercise is because most just less in their every day life than they did years ago. The more active one is in their every day life the less need for scheduled exercise.

If someone has a large enough yard it can easily be a cardio work out. It takes me about 30 minutes to mow our front yard and about 60 to mow our back yard. Chore or not that is a cardio work out. No less than if I were to walk about the neighborhood for 1.5 hours.


Edited by: VICSAC at: 5/3/2012 (08:01)


SHARON-MARIE
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5/3/12 7:38 A

Very timely question in that I will be mowing my lawn today.
emoticon

But . . . I won't be counting it as any of my fitness minutes.
(However, I will also say that last summer I did count lawn chores in my minutes. This year, I decided to no longer include them in my minutes).

As a couple of other people have said, consider lawn chores to be "bonus" exercise - bonus in that I don't add them to my minutes, but I do recgonize that they certainly can be a form of good exercise.

LThorton, I think you will find (as this thread hints) that different people are going to have different opinions (and, sometimes, widely so) on what counts as exercise.

For instance, I ride my trike (adult tri-wheeler bicycle) for both exercise and also for transportation. I count both types in my minutes. I'm sure, however, some people would disagree with me for counting my transportation minutes as exercise. I'm ok with that.

The point of my example is to encourage you. If someone wants to count lawn chores as fitness minutes or if someone wants to count transportation cycling as fitness mintues, then that's their perogative. If someone else thinks that lawn chores (or other things) should not count as fitness minutes, they when they do those activities, they shouldn't count them.

Be blessed,
Sharon-Marie



JSMIMI8
SparkPoints: (32,919)
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Posts: 992
5/3/12 7:33 A

I think it would depend on how difficult the work is. My yard is an acre with three hills. I spent yesterday clean up the yard to mow and then mowing. I am up and down the hills with a push mower and because it is the first time the top hill had been mowed it was a hay field. Yes, I count it. My core is still tight 12 hours later, just like when I do a Bob Harper workout.



DRAGONFLY02
Posts: 1,208
5/3/12 6:43 A

I consider things like chores (mowing, gardening, cleaning, etc) as free bonus exercise, but I don't count it towards my exercise for the day. I always try to get free exercise wherever I can, like parking at the far end of the parking lot, or walking to the store instead of driving, so when I do things like mow the lawn or shovel snow, I get excited that I did a little extra that day. But I don't count it in my exercise tracker. Now if you have a huge yard like my parents did (they have 4 or 5 acres) and you have to do a big portion of it with a push mower as my dad since a couple acres were on a hill and it was too dangerous to use a riding mower, than I'd probably consider that a workout. Mainly because my dad would have to mow for about 2 hours to get that section done, it was definitely a workout.



MY2MANYDOGS
Posts: 772
5/3/12 6:13 A

If you're pushing a mower, count your steps. That should count for something!



SCTK519
Posts: 2,085
5/2/12 7:49 P

I say no, mowing the lawn doesn't count as exercise. I consider just a bonus calorie burn.



PAPAMIKIE
SparkPoints: (41,536)
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Posts: 3,861
5/2/12 7:35 P

What you track is entirely up to you. However, Sparks asks you to set up your profile, how active are you in work and life. I put sendentary, meaning I do nothing, I still do not personally include yard work or house cleaning in what I track. They were there when I gained weight. And for me it has worked out well not to tack them.

Someone who said they were moderatly active because they figured they do house cleaning, yard work in summer and snow shoveling in winter as already incuded the work or calories burned to do the work in their basic calories, if they now count them agian seperately, then they are double counting.

So you need to look at did you include them in your basic profile, you also need to look at what is your goal, why do you want to include them, and finally and most important, does they way you do it work.

I use my Heart rate monitor and an algorithim in Excel to calculate my calorie burn. I added to the math the ability to increase or decrease the amount of calories burned based on your personal profile. I decrease my calorie burn by 10%, I have a friend who increases it by 10% so between us we make a 20% adjustment. We each make our adjustment based on tracking for a couple of years and making adjustments so that the estimates came out with the real world results we got.

Edited by: PAPAMIKIE at: 5/3/2012 (07:16)


MENESTRELLO
Posts: 248
5/2/12 6:29 P

Go ahead and track it, but don't skip your regular exercise routine because of it. That can lead to bad habits.

Edited by: MENESTRELLO at: 5/2/2012 (18:32)


LTHORNTON79
Posts: 304
5/2/12 2:21 P

Chris that's such a great way to put it! Anything beats sitting on the couch (unless sitting on the couch includes getting a mani/pedi LOL).



CHRISZ40
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5/2/12 2:19 P

you definitely would of burned more calories than you would of been just sitting. and if you were moving continuously I would say yep cardio!



CASSIEFLUTE
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Posts: 116
5/2/12 1:30 P

In my opinion, yes absolutely. I was never allowed to mow the lawn when younger (my mom is REALLY picky about how it looks) but I watcher her come in after, breathing hard, and her heart rate was VERY high. I don't see how that doesn't count for cardio just because she wasn't on the gym. I'll do 'speed cleaning' at times, trying to get my housekeeping to count as an exercise by running around the house cleaning and I count it for cardio. Then again - I also count shovelling snow as cardio. I may not be moving fast or a lot - but it gets your heart rate constantly pumping and your breathing faster, so in my opinion it counts. If it's burning calories and healing your heart and lungs, it should count.



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
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5/2/12 1:19 P

LThornton, there's an option for power push mowers, too, so just look for "mowing" in the tracker, and enter accordingly.



RAINBOWCHARMER
SparkPoints: (52,709)
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5/2/12 1:16 P

::shrugs:: I count push mowing as exercise.

30 min (approx) of pushing a 50+ pound object on wheels up and down hills (my yard is nowhere near level) feels like exercise to me. So I count it. I also count walking my dogs (I power-walk at about 13 min miles), though it doesn't get my heartrate nearly up to what running does. But I still count it. It's a chore. It's something I do every day for them. But it's exercise as well.

Do what makes sense to you. If it feels like exercise, you're working hard, sweating, etc. Count it. If it doesn't, don't.

I don't count mowing my back yard because I use a riding mower (mostly). But my front/side yards with my push mower (not self propelled - human propelled), is absolutely a workout. At least for me.

Edited by: RAINBOWCHARMER at: 5/2/2012 (13:27)


LTHORNTON79
Posts: 304
5/2/12 12:46 P

That makes sense Dragon. I use a push mower (it's electric, so it's not as heavy, but our yard isn't exactly level either). I'm thinking it might count more toward muscle building than cardio.



BREWMASTERBILL
SparkPoints: (31,080)
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Posts: 4,110
5/2/12 12:46 P

I still completely fail to understand your logic. If it's physically taxing and you cannot perform exercise, then do not perform it. I think you could space it sufficiently.

Like I said, this is just my opinion. I do not track chores, I track exercise. I did chores when I was fat. Did not appreciably slow down my weight gain.



LTHORNTON79
Posts: 304
5/2/12 12:44 P

No, but it certainly equals increased physical strain. My grandfather-in-law died from heat stroke after mowing his yard. My hypothesis is that, because outdoor work can be so physically taxing and time consuming, that it may not be smart (or necessary) to try to workout also (at least on the same day).



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
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Posts: 9,583
5/2/12 12:42 P

Hmm... yes and no; the lawnmowing, especially can be pretty vigorous if you're using a push mower. The question is: Is it cardio?

It IS exercise, but whether or not it's cardio depends on your exertion level. You need to be elevating your heart to at least 65% of normal for 10-20 minutes, minimum. Given the heat, it may be hard to tell whether or not it is. Lawn mowing's probably cardio... I know that when I mow the lawn using my push mower, it's every bit as vigorous and tough as my hardest interval class... pushing, walking, it's like walking on a treadmill that's off. ;)

Weed whacking, probably not... you're not moving very fast, and you're moving in smaller movements. You probably won't elevate your heart rate enough for that.

I would go with a very conservative estimate on this, just to make sure that you're not overestimating calories burned. There's a "gardening" option in the cardio tracker that's pretty conservative... I'd go with that for the weed whacking.

Now the lawn mowing? There's an option for that in the cardio tracker, and it's tough work. :) Search for mowing lawn! If you're using a riding mower... it's not exercise. Don't enter it.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 5/2/2012 (12:43)


BREWMASTERBILL
SparkPoints: (31,080)
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Posts: 4,110
5/2/12 12:41 P

What does the temperature have to do with it? Sweat doesn't equal calorie burn.



LTHORNTON79
Posts: 304
5/2/12 12:40 P

Bill - even when you live somewhere that gets hotter than the seventh layer of Hell in the summertime?



BREWMASTERBILL
SparkPoints: (31,080)
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Posts: 4,110
5/2/12 12:38 P

It's a matter of opinion. In my opinion, absolutely not. Count fitness minutes, not doing chores.



LTHORNTON79
Posts: 304
5/2/12 12:01 P

Hey Sparkers! I want your opinion. Does mowing, edging and weed whacking the yard count for your daily exercise? I don't know if I'll have time (or energy) to mow AND workout in the same day. Since spring/summer yardwork is upon us, what are your thoughts?



 
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