Mow The Lawn And Get In Shape

by Mike Holman

mini-mowerbig.jpgI’m a big fan of exercise in order to stay in shape. One of the things that I try to do is to get some exercise doing normal chores around the house so that I can increase my fitness without having spend extra time or money going to a gym. A great way to get some solid exercise during the summer months is to mow the lawn with a manual lawn mower.

Now you might be thinking that your yard is too big. Well, how about doing part of the lawn with the manual mower and then hop on your 8-cylinder rider for the remainder? Now I can accept that some people are not healthy enough to do manual work but everyone else should be capable of doing part or all of their lawn with a manual mower.

Reasons why you should be using a manual lawn mower

  1. Exercise – this particular workout doesn’t cost you any money, no time to get to the gym and is time that you would doing a chore anyways.
  2. Save money – manual mowers are cheaper than any other kind of mowers and the maintenance is much less.
  3. Good for the environment – you aren’t using any electricity or polluting with a gasoline engine.
  4. Quiet – electric and gas mowers are very loud, which is annoying to the person mowing as well as everyone else in a half mile radius.

If you are going to mow your lawn manually, then it’s important that you do it regularly, otherwise if it gets too long then it’s too difficult.

You can buy a pretty good manual mower for about $100 so even if you already own an electric or gas mower then you can sell it and buy a manual mower. Your health will thank you.

If you have kids that are old enough then get them to do this exercise which will help them if they ever look for lawn mowing job.  Here are some more jobs for kids.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheFinancialBlogger

The only picture that comes into my mind is the one with Homer Simpson and his manual lawn. Are they really working? I mean, for more than 300 square foot?

2 The Reverend

We use a manual mower at our place and love it. We don’t have an enormous lot by any means but its still a decent size and effort to mow but you couldn’t pay me to use a gas mower.

As long as you put in minimal maintenance, the mower works fine (ie don’t leave it out in the rain to rust and sharpen it every couple years).

3 Four Pillars

FB – yah maybe Homer isn’t the best example – he needs to do some of his neighbours lawns as well.

Rev – actually our mower (which came with the house) was left out to the elements for a couple of years – still works great though.


4 MillionDollarJourney

I’ve tried one of those push mowers before, but they didn’t work out that well. Maybe it only works well with really short grass.

5 Four Pillars

FT – you need to work out more! 🙂

Yes, it only works on shorter grass so you have to cut more frequently.

6 guinness416

There’s no excuse for anyone in yer typical Toronto house not using a manual mower, although even in the big smoke I’ve noticed that Canadian men can be a little neurotic and obsessive about their grass; it may not come before their kids but possibly their pets.

I certainly like to put my feet up on the patio with a cup of tea and watch my husband using ours.

7 Leslie

I’ve been using a manual mower for several years, along with long handled shears for trimming along the fence and around trees & gardens. If you’re new to reel mowers, this has has some good advice Remember these used to be the only kind of mowers and somehow our grandparents managed to push them around.

8 Kyle

Ahh, the joys of owning a lawn-less condo.

9 Mr. Cheap

I’m with guinness: I love work, I could watch it all day.

10 Caitlin @ C

If you’re getting a manual lawn mower, I suggest getting a new one! If you must get one of the old used ones, have the blades professionally sharpened and inspect the handles for wear and cover them in foam if necessary.
We had a bad experience with an old unkempt manual mower that belonged to my landlady – it was a bit dull (still functional, but required a lot more work), and the handles gave my husband a blister the size of his whole palm – through work gloves! Nasty thing.

As was said above, they only work well on shorter grass, so you’ll have to keep up with the mowing. Long grass will just bend out of the way of the blades as the mower rolls over it, which gets really frustrating really quickly.

Except for these few problems, which are easily prevented/fixed, a manual mower is an excellent way to save money on electricity or gas, and gives you outdoor exercise to boot!

11 Jerry Hung

I actually looked into getting the 14″ Yarworks Manual Reel Mower last week from CT for $69.99, but didn’t
RFD has a thread on “pros/cons of manual reel mower”

because this week they have the Yardworks 14″ Electric Mower for $89.99, so got that one instead. Provided you may need to buy an extension cord ($10), I am too shy to try the reel mower for real.

I’ve seen couple cheap ones on Kijiji, 18″ Yardwors for $60.

12 MoneyEnergy

Hear, hear! We have a manual mower and this reminds me that it’s my turn to get back on it:)

It is true that they work better when the grass is shorter, so don’t let the grass get too long before cutting again (otherwise, you just have to go over the grass a few more times – but hey, that’s more exercise!):)

And you have to take the blades in to get sharpened each year.

13 Shevy

We have a manual mower at our other house and my hubby gets the weeds, I mean the lawn, mowed quite quickly.

Here, in the city, our son-in-law mows the grass (less than half the area we have in the country) with a gas mower because it was given to him.

It would make much more sense to use a manual mower, but the price was right (even though he has to buy gas at the current, horrific, prices for it).

14 David

I cannot wait to use one…that is, if we have any grass at all!

15 Matt

At the end of the month I start owning a patch of grass that will be maintained using a manual mower. I like the idea of being able to do it myself with some old school technology, not to mention unless you have a big yard there is no point in spending money on gas and an expensive mower just to keep the grass trimmed.

The exercise won’t be bad for me either.

16 Four Pillars

Sharpness is definitely something to keep up on with a manual mower.

17 Mrs. Micah

I’ve considered this for when we have a lawn. Right now it’s not an issue, but it seems like between two healthy people we should be able to push a mower.

18 Nurseb911

Sure hope that kid got his/her booster recently Mike. Those blades look RUSTY!!! (Tetanus) lol

19 Four Pillars

Mrs. Micah – you guys can definitely do the manual mower.

Brad (Nurseb911) – my son gets his shots regularly so hopefully he’s covered! 🙂

20 WoolyWoman

And have kids so they can mow the lawn too as in your picture 🙂 We have a small grass yard and a push mower, I love it, until the rain comes and it gets too long and wet, like it is now. But that is what husbands are for, the hard manual labour jobs hahahahaha.

21 Four Pillars

Wooly – you gotta start them young! 🙂

22 Jim Somerville

Manual push mowers are one of those good in theory, sucks in practice kinds of things. They require *more* maintenance than an electric. If the grass gets too long before you can get to it, you get to have even more “fun”. Home Hardware just recalled their “Mark’s Choice” manual mower according to a friend. Something about a plastic gear that breaks.

23 Four Pillars

Jim, I’ve been using a manual for about 8 years and they are pretty good. I can’t imagine they need more maintenance (I do none) than an electric, plus they don’t have that annoying cord to drag around.

24 Dave From GP

We are in the process of downsizing our front lawn by building garden boxes, mulching and other space consuming landscape. I am hoping that next spring I can take my gas mower down to Home Depot, take advantage of their trade in program for gas mowers and switch to a manual mower. Lawns to me are a money pit. Sometimes I think I may as well just plant 10 dollar bills in the front yard!

25 Jim Somerville

Well, it does depend a bit on how much grass you’re cutting and how much crud like little sticks might get into your lawn to dull the blades. My main beef with them is really when the grass gets too long like what happens in June if you can’t get to it for a few days. Also, if you don’t have time to pull some of the tougher weeds, an electric will just blast through them. A manual, well, your mileage may vary. Do you use a high-end Lee Valley one?

26 Four Pillars

Jim – yes, if the lawn is too long then a manual is tough.

We have a pretty good one although it’s a bit rusted. That makes a difference as well.

27 karin

Who do I go to to get the blades on my manual mower sharpened!

My wonderful ten year old son has been mowing peoples front lawns with it to save up for new hockey goalie pads ($$$). He’s only about sixty pounds and even though he completes his jobs and the neighbours think he’s best and cheapest lawn mower he says the blades are very bad!!

28 DBautell

karin, you might call around to some golf courses and ask for maintainance. They either can do it ( but they might not want to, it might take money AND baked goods to get them to say yes), or they know who can.

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