And they're all activities Martha loves to do, too.

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Martha watering plants in greenhouse
Credit: Fadil Berisha

Martha is a woman of many hobbies—and many of those hobbies take place outdoors. But these nature-bound activities do more than simply pass our founder's time: They also double as exercise, keeping her healthy, active, and fit. Here, we take a look at some of Martha's favorite outdoor activities, from gardening to horseback riding, that are great forms of exercise. They just might inspire you to try a few of her favorite things.

Walking Her Dogs

It's no secret that Martha is an avid animal lover. She has had many pets over the years, including cats, chickens, and chinchillas. But there are a few that keep her most active, and those are her dogs. Martha's beloved pups—her French bulldogs (affectionately known as "The Frenchies") and two chow chows, Empress Qin and Emperor Han—guarantee that she gets plenty of exercise, since she rises at dawn's first light to walk them around her Bedford property.

And if you're a dog owner, you should follow suit: According to the American Heart Association, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Unfortunately, most people don't hit that benchmark—except for pup parents, that is. A recent study outline in The New York Times found that most dog owners spent about 300 minutes per week walking their pets. That's well over the 150 recommended minutes per week—and 200 minutes more per week than people who don't have a dog.

Horseback Riding

Another type of animal that Martha is passionate about? Horses. In fact, she has a nine-stall barn at Bedford and spends much of her time at home horseback riding. This gives her a chance to connect with her beloved Friesians and Fell pony—but it also provides a full-body workout. Not only does riding a horse engage and strengthen your core, legs, and arms, but it can also provide a decent calorie burn; a 2015 study from Texas A&M University found that riding a horse for 45 minutes at a walk, trot, or canter burns about 200 calories.


Gardening is one of Martha's favorite hobbies and one of her greatest talents. It's also one of her most active hobbies: It requires both aerobic activity (think raking leaves or pushing a garden cart full of supplies) and sizable strength (squatting to pull out weeds or hoisting a bag over your shoulder are harder than they look!). Combined, they make for a versatile, balanced, and effective workout.


Much of Bedford is a working farm. As any farmer will tell you, maintaining one is hard, physical work. Between tending to the farm's many animals and tilling the soil to landscaping, Bedford provides a multitude of opportunities for exercise—even just walking the expansive property is a workout.


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