Gardening makes good exerciseAh, the epitome of summer – sunshine, flowers, and time to start grappling the garden weeds. It may not be your ideal summer evening, but did you know that gardening could be one of Britain’s best-kept exercise secrets?

Yes, your garden mower is your gym treadmill and pruning your plants can help trim your body into shape as well as the gym.

This summer, you don’t have to pump yourself to annihilation on a running machine or painfully expose your untrained frisbee skills to scores of beach-bathers, when you can rake off the calories in the comfort and privacy of your own back garden.

Pruning, trimming, digging, weeding, raking, shovelling, and planting all qualify as aerobic gardening that incorporate many of the exercises and elements of an every day workout at the gym.

Gardening involves stretching and stance, repetition and movement, and even resistance principles similar to weight training that expend calories.

Studies show that an individual expends just as much energy performing some gardening tasks as they would participating in recommended activities like walking, cycling, swimming and aerobics.

Turning compost or shovelling is essentially lifting weights, raking is similar to using a rowing machine and pushing the mower is like a treadmill. And your exercise machines are trowels, spades, shovels, rakes, shearers, push mowers and wheelbarrows.

Top guidelines set by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Climbing Higher strategy – the national focus to get people in Wales becoming a fitter a healthier nation, led by the Sports Council for Wales - advise that adults across the principality should be doing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That’s good news for gardeners.

Research shows that gardening for 30-45 minutes most days of the week has significant health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as contributing to healthier bones, muscles and joints.