With warm sunny days that seem to stretch on forever, there’s no better time than summer to step out of the gym and indoor routines that got you through the cold. There are numerous outdoor summer activities that are so much fun, it’s unfair to call them exercise. Try one of these outdoor excursions solo or with your whole family to break a sweat and have some classic fun at the same time.
Whether you’re hitting the beach or the pool, nothing says fun workout more than making a splash in the water. And from kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing to just plain swimming, there are summer activities for water-lovers of all skill levels.
Swimming is one of the best all-around workouts you can do. Not only does it work your cardiovascular system, keep your heart rate up, and build endurance, but it engages nearly every muscle group—including your arms, legs, back, and core.
How many calories you burn depends on your weight, swimming style, and duration. A 150-pound swimmer at a moderate pace, for example, can burn around 400 calories in an hour. If you swim more vigorously, you burn even more. Aside from all the amazing fitness benefits, nothing feels more relaxing than taking a cool dip on a hot summer day.
Kayaking, paddleboarding, and similar “crafty” water-related activities make excellent summer workouts as well. With some of these, you burn between 100 to 200 calories in just thirty minutes depending on your effort. Like swimming, stand-up paddleboarding gives you a great full-body workout, but specifically your obliques (just above your hips) as you use your arms and back to propel yourself forward. Your leg and core muscles will get an equal benefit when working to keep your balance. Yoga on stand-up paddleboards is also quickly becoming a popular workout, as well as an excellent stress reliever.
Summer is the perfect time to pull your bike out of the garage, replace or pump up those deflated tires, and go for a ride. A breeze in your hair and scenic view of your neighborhood is all it takes for bike-riding to feel less like exercise and more like a fulfilling trip through nostalgia.
Despite that relaxed, adventurous feeling, biking really is an excellent cardiovascular workout that engages your core and upper body muscles to maintain balance and, of course, your legs, including your quads, hamstrings, and calves. The amount of calories you burn biking will vary based on your speed, weight, and terrain, but you can burn more than 300 calories in thirty minutes with an average speed of 15 mph.
You can even score some green points while you ride by swapping out a bike ride for your usual car commute. You’ll save gas and money all while getting in a great workout.
With nature in its peak bloom, there’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors than with a summer hike. With so much to look at and explore, your kids won’t even realize they’re exercising. Like walking and jogging, hiking uses your quads, glutes, and hamstrings as you navigate hills and volatile surfaces from one beautiful lookout spot to the next. It also raises your heart rate and builds endurance if you make a day of it.
There are many factors in calculating how many calories you can burn hiking, like terrain and speed, but on average you can burn around 200 calories on a brisk one-hour hike. You can look up how much you’ll burn based on your hiking style and weight here.
Just remember to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated. Try to avoid peak sun hours for a summer hike to beat the heat and stay safe and comfortable.
You can take the “work” out of workout and still get in the fitness you want this summer. Anything that gets you moving outdoors provides that exercise. The best part of these summer activities? They can be done with a partner or even with your kids, which means you can enjoy some quality time with your family while getting in shape.
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This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.