Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Surprising health benefits of DIY & gardening revealed in national campaign from Draper Tools

Published: 28 July 2020 - Neil Mead

Leading tool firm Draper Tools has lifted the lid on the consumer health benefits and the calories burnt during a range of home improvement jobs. A national campaign is underway to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of DIY and gardening and Draper Tools is calling on retailers to get involved too by sharing some of the fascinating findings.

Feeling the burn

According to the Draper Tools study, UK homeowners burn more than 80,000 calories a year – by gardening and doing DIY. During a typical year, house proud Brits will spend 165 hours in total pottering around the garden and fixing up their dwellings.  In that time, they will burn 6,384 kcals while weeding, 3,466 kcals when pruning and 3,852 kcals while watering the garden. Mowing the lawn might be considered more of a therapeutic task than a full workout, but adults manage to shed 4,199 calories a year doing just that. In the home itself, they’ll also burn 2,161 kcals when removing wallpaper, 4,145 kcals while painting walls and 433 kcals by hammering nails over the course of a year.

Spreading the word

Commissioned to support the growing range of DIY & gardening essentials from Draper Tools, the study of 2,000 homeowners found many people were unaware of the potential health benefits of home improvements. 39 per cent of adults don’t tend to think of gardening as a way of exercising - and 57 per cent feel the same about DIY.

However, with all the jobs in and around being done in Britain’s homes recently, half of those surveyed said it did feel like they've been working out more than normal.

Kev Smith, Head of Marketing at Draper Tools said: “It just goes to show DIY and gardening are not only beneficial for the home, but also for overall health and wellbeing too. The amount burnt during a typical year is the equivalent of burning 349 Mars bars or 312 Big Macs – that’s a lot of food.”

“In addition to being good for you physically, the research also found that DIY and gardening also helps many of those polled to relax and unwind too. It’s been fascinating learning just how far the benefits of home improvements really go.”

“We’ve had a great response to the findings and would like to encourage retailers to share them with their customers too.”

Hidden health benefits of everyday jobs

The study also found those polled will burn a total of 1,924 calories sawing items during a typical year, along with 1,293 while pressure washing and 588 as a result of building flat-pack furniture. Even smaller tasks such as painting items of furniture or filling in holes using a filler will see them shed 394 and 760 calories respectively. And they’ll also shave off 221 calories throughout the course of a typical 12-month period while putting shelves up and 702 when attaching pictures to walls.

In the garden, those polled will burn 3,799 calories digging, 4,194 cutting branches from trees and 2,659 planting seeds and plants. Painting outdoor walls and fencing will shed 3,661 calories and carrying stones, wood, bags of compost, bags of soil and other heavy items will also burn 3,029 a year. Further to this, harvesting home grown fruit and vegetables will result in 3,118 calories being burnt off.

Physical and mental wellbeing

The Draper Tools study carried out through OnePoll also found 73 per cent of homeowners consider gardening to be a nice way to de-stress and to relax and 47 per cent feel similarly about DIY.

As such, seven in 10 find they tend to get so lost in the task when improving the home and doing a spot of gardening they find hours can simply ‘disappear.’

In the same vein, more than half said they get so carried away they have a tendency to take fewer breaks than they would if they were at work. This may be because they take great pride in maintaining a nice home and garden - 67 per cent said doing a DIY or gardening job well is more satisfying than doing a good job at work.

Kev Smith of Draper Tools added: “Many people have been trying out new home workouts recently but you could argue DIY and gardening can be just as effective at helping keep the nation active and healthy. However, as with more traditional exercise it’s important that people don’t overdo it and remember to take regular breaks.”

For more information on the campaign and the latest products and promotions from Draper Tools, please visit Retailers can also request a free copy of the findings and a set of infographics to use on social media by emailing

Gardening and DIY - time spent and calories burnt during a typical year

  • Dead heading plants – 497 minutes and 3,047 kcals
  • Pruning – 562 minutes and 3,466 kcals
  • Watering the garden – 680 minutes and 3,852 kcals
  • Planting seeds or plants – 476 minutes and 2,659 kcals
  • Mowing the lawn – 707 minutes and 4,199 kcals
  • Spraying insecticide - 189 and 1,125 kcals
  • Adding mulch to flower beds – 261 minutes and 1,583 kcals
  • Turning over soil - 319 minutes and 3,147 kcals
  • Digging – 385 minutes and 3,799 kcals
  • Heavy lifting such as carrying stones, wood, bags of compost, bags of soil etc. – 307 minutes ?and 3,029 kcals 29906
  • Raking – 364 minutes and 3,592 kcals
  • Painting walls/fence - 371 minutes and 3,661 kcals
  • Cutting the hedge - 389 minutes and 3,838 kcals
  • Cutting off branches - 425 minutes and 4,194 kcals
  • Weeding - 647 minutes and 6,384 kcals
  • Harvesting - 316 minutes and 3,118 kcals
  • Hoeing - 321 minutes and 3,168 kcals
  • Painting smaller objects like furniture - 82 minutes and 394 kcals
  • Filling-in holes (using Polyfilla or equivalent) – 158 minutes and 760 kcals
  • Putting pictures up – 146 minutes and 702 kcals
  • Putting shelves up – 46 minutes and 221 kcals
  • Drilling holes – 57 minutes and 274 kcals
  • Hammering nails – 99 minutes and 433 kcals
  • Building flat-pack furniture - 123 minutes and 588 kcals
  • Varnishing items - 55 minutes and 264 kcals
  • Removing wallpaper -219 minutes and 2,161 kcals
  • Painting walls – 420 minutes and 4,145 kcals
  • Sawing items – 195 minutes and 1,924 kcals
  • Sand down items - 93 minutes and 918 kcals
  • Tile floors – 219 minutes and 2,161 kcals
  • Tile walls - 295 minutes and 2,911 kcals
  • Wallpaper a medium sized room – 272 minutes and 2,684 kcals
  • Using a pressure washer - 131 minutes and 1,293 kcals


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