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Does Gardening Feel Harder Than It Used to? Here’s Why (And What You Can Do About It)

Are you a keen gardener? Have you noticed recently that gardening feels more demanding than it used to be?

When digging, does it feel like your soil has turned to clay? Do your plant pots and compost bags feel heavier than they used to? Do you worry about your balance when stepping over the flowerbeds?

Do you find reaching to prune the roses harder? Do you struggle to get down to the ground (and back up again) for weeding?

Whether you have a patio with lovingly tended pots, a productive allotment or a more extensive garden, gardening can be the most enjoyable and rewarding activity.

But it’s also hard work. And, if it gets too arduous, we can’t do as much, and we find it less enjoyable.

I Know How Important It Is to Feel Confident and Enjoy Your Gardening

In this article, I’m going to share the following:

  • Which aspects of fitness we need in the garden.
  • Why gardening feels harder than it used to.
  • The top three things we need to do to stay fit for gardening.

I’ll also explain why we shouldn’t wait to get fit for gardening.

What Aspects of Fitness Do We Need in the Garden?

We use so many different muscles when working in the garden. We need to carry heavy items and get into challenging positions. And we might be doing so for hours on end.

Gardening is a full-body workout and then some! Our legs need to be strong for planting, digging and getting up and down from the flowerbeds.

We need to maintain good posture for raking, sweeping, and weeding. Pruning and weeding require mobile shoulders. We need grip strength to use the equipment, especially to operate pruning shears and lift plant pots around the garden.

Stepping around obstacles and moving safely around the garden involves lots of balance.

Why Gardening Feels More Challenging Than It Used to

First, I want to reassure you that it’s normal to find these activities harder.

Unless we work to maintain them, our strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance decline. This impacts our ability to perform activities such as gardening.

However, this decline is not inevitable, and we can get stronger, more flexible and improve our balance at any age.

What Can We Do to Stay Fit for Gardening?

Here are my three top tips to get fit for gardening:

  1. Strengthen your leg and back muscles,
  2. Improve your balance.
  3. Mobilise your hips and shoulders.

Don’t worry; you can do all this without committing to an intensive programme or spending hours in the gym.

In fact, you don’t need to go to a gym at all!

There are online programmes, such as the Fit for Gardening programme, which covers these three areas – strength, balance and mobility. And you can do it all from home.

Here’s a quick taster video from the Fit for Gardening programme. The instructor, Tina, shows some of the exercises:

Why We Need to Take Action Today

If you’re starting to notice that gardening is more challenging than it used to be, this is the time to do something.

Please don’t wait until it gets too much, as it will be harder to make a difference.

Start doing the right exercise plan now, and you’ll stay fit enough to enjoy working in your garden. After a morning of gardening, you’ll have more energy for the rest of your day. You’ll wake up the next day surprisingly free of aches and pains – ready to return to the garden if needed!

Feel fitter, stronger and more confident in your garden with Vida Wellness’ Fit for Gardening programme! You’ll enjoy easy-to-follow exercise videos, support and encouragement. Click here to try it FREE for 14 days.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What’s your garden like? Is there any activity you’re finding particularly challenging (fitness-wise) in the garden? Do you find reaching to prune the roses harder? Do you struggle to get down to the ground (and back up again) for weeding?

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I worked in the garden for 4 hours and couldn’t hardly stand, sit, or walk for 2 days! This piece is perfectly timed. Thank you


I’m 66, and in very good shape from several regular year-round forms of exercise. I’ve now done several sessions of hard garden labor, and for the first time ever, I felt limited in stamina. Done after 2 hours, where I used to be able to go all day. I suppose it had to happen at some point. There may be more paid help in my garden’s future. Time to shift and adjust.


Digging up an entire (large!) flowerbed in my garden now. Remove tree roots and old hard packed soil. I’ve been at this for days on end. At first every single part of my body HURT. Getting much better as the days go on. I swear I will never allow myself to get this out of shape again!!! Good reason to get off the couch more in the off season.


Thank you! This article will help me garden with ease.

The Author

Over the last 16 years, Claudine has helped hundreds of people to improve their balance, feel stronger and move more easily. That's why her in-person classes and online programmes have been featured globally, including on BBC Radio 4. Members of her online exercise studio enjoy an extensive library of easy-to-follow videos, as well as advice and support. Try some taster videos from the Vida Wellness Studio.

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