11 Calorie-Burning Activities to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

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One of the best parts of summer is being able to participate in all things outdoors. It’s an added bonus that many under-the-sun activities tend to be pretty good exercise. If you’re looking for a unique way to burn calories, build strength and get your heartrate pumping this season, the following 11 workouts disguised as fun summer activities are for you.

Water sports like surfing and paddle boarding can be great for building strength, while others are more aerobic like tennis and biking. There are also incredible mental and cognitive benefits from exercising, especially those that you also find enjoyable.

Most moderately difficult summer activities will burn around 200-300 calories an hour (for the average woman), but some more intense activities can burn up to 600! As always, it is very important to supplement with strength and aerobic training so that you don’t end up as the injured weekend warrior during this week’s game of pick-up soccer.

Woman Wearing Elbow and Knee Pads Rollerblading in Park | Vitacost.com/Blog

This list includes options for all your favorite summer locations, so whether you are on vacation or rediscovering your hometown, grab a friend and get your sweat on (oh –
and don’t forget the sunscreen!).

Top activities for summer exercise

1. Biking: Take your bike to the park, around the neighborhood or even up a mountain. Biking provides many benefits and doubles as a great way to get around town. It strengthens every muscle in your legs and is a great aerobic exercise. If you are fortunate to have hills around you, challenge yourself to bike up a few to get the most out of your next ride. Try adding biking as a mode of transportation one day each week and see how quickly your fitness and mood improves.

2. Hiking: Everyone’s definition of hiking is different, but I think we all can agree that walking up any type of incline is a challenging task. Hiking is great for improving your cardiovascular system and has the added benefit of strengthening that you don’t get from walking on a flat surface.

Walking up and down hill builds strength in your gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Additionally, when walking downhill, your leg muscles have to fight gravity to control your descent. This means your muscles are contracting eccentrically (controlled lengthening), which is the ultimate way to gain some serious strength. Be wary, however, as this type of contraction can cause significant muscle soreness so make sure to train before any serious hiking.

3. Tennis: Playing tennis alone or with partners is an incredible way to burn lots of calories and challenge your cardiovascular system. The short sprints tax your anaerobic capacity, or your ability to perform work at intense levels without oxygen, while the long volleys target your aerobic capacity, or your ability to use oxygen to maintain activity levels. Tennis is a great calorie burner, burning up to 500 calories or more in an intense game of back and forth.

4. Rollerblading: In case you haven’t heard, rollerblading is back. On the sidewalk or the boardwalk, rollerblades and skates have been spotted pretty much everywhere. Roller blading puts less pressure on your joints than running, but gives similar benefits due to the quick pace. Pushing off and balancing strengthens just about every muscle in your legs and hips, especially those quadriceps, making roller blading a significant calorie burner as well as a great mode of transportation during the summer months.

5. Ultimate Frisbee: Before you tell yourself “I can’t throw a frisbee,” and keep scrolling, you may want to check out all the amazing benefits this activity can have. Playing an intense hour-long game of ultimate frisbee can burn up to 500-600 calories and will help improve your running, agility, hand-eye coordination and overall strength. The quick stops and turns challenge your athleticism, while throwing and catching the frisbee improve your general coordination. This game can get intense, so make sure to start slow and build up in both time and intensity in order to avoid injury.

6. Snorkeling: We usually think of snorkeling as a relaxing vacation activity, but don’t be fooled as it can also be great exercise. Not only do you have to work your whole body to stay afloat, but breathing through the small tube really challenges your cardiorespiratory system. Breathing through a restricted tube while lightly swimming mimics the benefits you would get from a much more intense bout of swimming. This means greater calorie burn and greater benefits. Plus, you get to experience a sea of colorful fish – win-win!

7. Walking on beach: This activity is no joke. The pier keeps getting farther and farther while your feet sink in deeper and deeper. Even if you’re used to going on long walks, walking on sand will challenge your cardiorespiratory system as well as your leg and core strength. Your deep core muscles have to keep you upright, your hips are stabilizing as you sink deeper, and the little muscles in your ankles and feet are adapting as you step through the soft sand. It is also important to note that activity done on sand will burn about 1.8 times the amount of calories burned on solid ground.

8. Surfing and paddle boarding: Both of these activities can provide amazing strength and cardio benefits. In order to maintain balance on a board, all of your core and hip muscles are firing. This means your deep abdominals, gluteal muscles, lateral hip muscles and ankle stabilizers are all firing. The stronger and more trained these muscles are, the more stable you become both on the water and on land, helping keep you safe from injury. Paddle boarding can also burn up to 400 calories in an hour!

9. Kayaking: Many summer activities target the legs, but kayaking is a great way to build upper body strength. Push and pulling against the current activates your biceps, triceps, chest and back, making it a great full-body strength workout. On top of that, the constant movement will ensure that your heart and lungs are working hard, so you will get a good calorie burn out of kayaking as well. Canoeing and any type of rowing will give you the same benefits as well.

10. Kite surfing: Kite surfing is the ultimate water sport. It takes serious leg strength and endurance as you fight the waves and wind. This sport takes a lot of practice, but after a few lessons, you will be well on your way to burning massive amounts of calories (up to 600 per hour!) and gaining some serious leg strength. It doesn’t hurt that all the sunbathers on the beach will be marveling at your impressive skills.

11. Building sand castles: It’s time to dust off your beach toys because…. we’re making sandcastles this summer! A great activity for kids to relieve boredom at the beach, building sand castles can also help you get your get steps in, work on mobility in positions you don’t normally assume (hello deep squat), as well as work on eye-hand coordination. While this may not burn the most calories, you may want to throw it into your next beach day to get your mind and body moving. Not to mention, you can show off your masterpiece to everyone that walks by.