How Many Calories Do You Burn Mowing the Lawn?

If you’re looking for a way to sneak in some extra exercise, mowing the lawn may be the perfect solution. You might be surprised at how beneficial lawn care can be for your health. While you may not think of mowing the lawn as a workout, it actually can be a great way to burn some calories, and even help you to lose weight!

In fact, according to one estimate, you can burn up to 200 calories in just 30 minutes of mowing. So, next time you’re feeling guilty about skipping the gym, remember that mowing the lawn is a great way to get your heart rate up and break a sweat. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than being on the treadmill!

But just how many calories do you actually burn while doing this familiar summer chore? The answer can vary based on the size and terrain of your yard, and the type of lawn mower you own. Read on to find out more.

Size of Your Yard

One of the biggest misconceptions about burning calories during a workout is that, for the vast majority of people and workouts, it is not how hard you exercise but how long you exercise that determines the total number of calories you expend. Therefore, the size of your yard is probably the most significant factor in determining how many calories you burn mowing the lawn.

Of course, this does not change the rate at which you burn calories. That does depend on your effort, lawn terrain, and the type of lawn mower you’re using. But, for overall total calorie numbers, anyone with a large yard will burn much more than someone with a small to medium lawn.

Type of Lawn Mower

The next biggest factor in how many calories you burn mowing the lawn is the type of lawn mower you’re using. Generally, there are three types of lawn mowers: manual push, self-propelled push mowers, and riding lawnmowers.

Manual Push Mowers

The most physically demanding is the manual push mower, also called a reel. If you’re using a manual push mower, you’ll be working much harder than if you’re using a riding lawnmower. So, if you’re looking to burn the most calories possible, using a reel mower is your best option.

This is because you’re using entirely your own effort to move. The reel mower won’t go anywhere unless you push it. In addition, you are walking behind it the whole time, which burns calories as well. Click here to find the best reel mowers available for purchase.

Self-Propelled Lawnmowers

There are some motorized lawn mowers that are also entirely reliant on the person’s effort to push it, but the majority of the ones currently sold are self-propelled. This means you only have to start them going forward, and they take it from there.

If you have this type of lawn mower, you don’t need to work as hard when you’re using it. You still have to work to propel it forward, however, as well as walk behind it, turn the mower when you get to the end of a row, and all that.

Riding Lawn Mower

You might think riding lawn mowers are not calorie burners at all, and that is not true. While they might burn about 2-3 times less than walking behind a push lawn mower, you can still burn some calories doing it.

Firstly, you’re out in the sun and the heat, which does get rid of some calories for you. You’re also turning and driving the large machine you’re sitting on, which does take some strength and effort.

Other Factors

Besides the type of lawn mower you use and the size of your lawn, there are a few other factors that go into your average caloric output.


This one is simple physics. It takes more energy to move a heavier object than it does to move a light one. Therefore, the more a person weighs, the more calories they will burn when mowing the lawn, simply because they have to move themselves along with it. Also the heavier your lawn mower is, the harder it will be to push and the more effort overall it will take.


The terrain of your lawn also can play a significant role in your calorie burning. For example, pushing a lawn mower up and down a hill will cause you to lose more calories than a lawn that is completely flat.

Also, if your lawn is bumpy or uneven, you would use more energy pushing the lawn mower. It also takes more effort to maneuver around a lot of obstacles than it does just to walk in a straight line the whole time.

Average Calorie Burn Lawn Mowing

The average American weighs around 185 pounds – women on average about 10 pounds less and men about 10 pounds more. Therefore, these calorie burning metrics will be based on that average weight, in order to keep everything equal.

For example, the average American homeowner using a manual push lawn mower would burn 230 calories in a half-hour, or 460 calories per hour.

For a motorized push lawn mower, you would expend less, because it does some of the work for you. Therefore, you would burn an average of 190 calories in a half-hour window, or 380 calories per hour.

With a riding lawn mower, it’s tricky to know for sure how many calories are being burned, but multiple sources put it at around 100 calories in a half-hour riding session, or 200 calories per hour. While this is less than half of a reel mower, those who are using riding mowers are typically on them for a long time, so you might end up burning more in a lawn mowing session than those with push mowers!

The average person burns about 250-300 calories per hour walking, so mowing your lawn is indeed a great workout. You get your calories burned, your aerobic exercise, and you get to check a chore off your list!

Ending Thoughts

So, how many calories do you burn mowing the lawn? The answer may depend on a variety of factors like the size and terrain of your yard, as well as the type of lawn mower you use.

But according to our research, the average person burns somewhere between 100-200 calories per half-hour while mowing the lawn. If you’re curious about how many exactly calories you burned while mowing your lawn or any other activity, any free online calculator can help.

Ready to start burning some serious calories with your next DIY project? If you’re looking for a way to fit in some extra exercise this summer, why not try mowing the lawn yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it? You may be surprised at just how much effort it takes – and how many calories you can burn in the process!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.