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11 Sizzling Summer Calorie Burners

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who lounge poolside sipping margaritas, and those who jog from the volleyball court to cannonball into the water. We encourage you to be in the latter group. With sunshine and blue skies and (mostly) agreeable temperatures, summer boasts some truly enjoyable, calorie-destroying activities. Plus, most are so much fun, you won’t even feel like you’re working toward your fitness goals! Trade in that bikini for something a little more functional and try one of these active summer activities to start scorching some major calories!

Beach/Sand Volleyball: 544 Calories Burned If the killer physique of  three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings isn't enough to convince you to hit the court, maybe the knowledge that you’ll be burning 544 calories per hour will do the trick. Running in the sand is a unique challenge for your legs and you’ll get your whole body working as you dig and spike balls. Most areas have recreational leagues for adults, which means you can get active while meeting new friends in the process.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: 500 Calories Burned This summer activity continues to pick up steam as a relaxing, but challenging way to explore waters. You’ll feel the burn almost immediately as your abdominals work to keep you balanced on the board while you propel yourself forward. Devotees have also taken to experimenting with yoga balancing poses on the board, but if you’re a beginner, start out on your knees and work your way to a standing position. It’s also, apparently, a fantastic way to bond with Fido.

Rollerblading: 476 Calories Burned Yes, your favorite 90s activity is also a killer calorie-burner. Lacing up a pair of rollerblades and hitting the neighborhood streets for just an hour burns more than 450 calories. Legs do the bulk of the work, with inner thighs, quads and glutes all working with every push forward. For people looking for a low-impact option, rollerblading is a great alternative to jogging and is kind to sensitive knees.

Cycling: 408 Calories Burned Skip the stationary bike during warm summer months and jump on the real thing, instead. Pedaling your way through park trails or down the street on two wheels is a full-body effort. Hit some hills and you’ll be feeling those legs and glutes the next morning. Plus, the relief of having the wind in your face on the downhill has to be one of the best feelings around. Be sure to grab a safety helmet on your way out the door and take time to get your bike in shape before leaving the driveway.

Waterskiing: 408 Calories Burned Spend an afternoon waterskiing and you’ll wake up the next morning with a hurts-so-good soreness. Once you’ve mastered the art of standing up, every muscle in the body gets to work. Holding on to the rope requires a good deal of arm strength and your core works to steady your body on the two skis. Plus, the basic stance to maintain balance and control while on waterskis resembles a squat, meaning your quads, glutes and calves are working and getting stronger with every bump you encounter. And did we mention the fact that you’re rewarded with a boat ride at the end of all your hard work? Simply summer bliss.

Swimming (leisurely): 408 Calories Burned Whether it’s a pool, an ocean or a lake, you should make a point of swimming in one several times this summer. Swimming is a killer workout for your whole body and has the added benefit of being very easy on your joints. You don’t have to wait for adult swim to get in your laps, either. Get everyone in on a game of Marco Polo, a relay race across the lake or try some Sharks and Minnows on for size. After all, summer is all about unleashing your inner child!

Hiking (cross-country): 408 Calories Burned Summer is the only time the saying ''Take a hike'' makes us smile. Hiking through the woods or around the local park is a wonderful way to get moving with the whole family. Pick trails with lots of shady trees and slight inclines to challenge your quads and calves. Aside from being a pretty wonderful way to spend an afternoon, cross-country hiking at a decent pace will also burn roughly 400 calories. Before you head out on the dusty trail, make sure that you’re packing the essentials to keep you safe and comfortable.

Kayaking/Canoeing/Whitewater Rafting: 340 Calories Burned Whether you’re into thrill-seeking or taking in the peaceful sights and sounds of a rolling river, there’s a vehicle for that. Assuming you’re not into twirling a parasol while someone else does all the work, taking a kayak or canoe out for the day is a serious exercise that will challenge your arm muscles and core with every mile you travel. Whitewater rafters will find their muscle exertion levels nearly as high as their adrenaline as they traverse rocky bumps and help propel your raft through rapids. Take advantage of your surroundings by wearing a suit and jumping in a few times to enjoy a leisurely swim.

Gardening: 272 Calories Burned Think gardening is just tossing plants in the ground and smelling roses? Think again. The reality of tending to and maintaining a garden is more about lunging, pulling and digging, all of which activate and strengthen muscles. Double-plus-bonus? Fresh, healthy vegetables right in your own yard!

Horseback Riding: 272 Calories Burned Horseback riding might just be a thigh’s best friend. Much of directing a horse happens with the legs and, as a result, your quads and hamstrings put in a lot of work. You’ll find your legs and core get a solid challenge if you gallop, but even just balancing on the saddle during a walk requires the thigh muscles to squeeze to stay upright. For an even better workout, saddle and prepare the horse yourself.

Surfing: 204 Calories Burned The ultimate summer sport is also the ultimate workout. Talented professional surfers make it look easy to glide along the waves, but the reality is that jumping on a surfboard in search of the perfect wave challenges a variety of muscles. You’ll work your arms and shoulders as you paddle out against the ocean’s movements and get your core firing as you work to balance once you eventually stand up. We bet you won't even realize how many calories you're burning while you're experiencing the thrill of catching your first wave!

*Calories burned information based on person weighing 150 pounds performing the exercise or activity for 60 minutes.
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Member Comments

Those are all fun at between 70-85 degrees. Hotter than that and you risk losing more than a few pounds. Report
Thank you for sharing. Report
THANKS Report
Exhausting to just read these suggestions.
My 76th birthday is at the end of this week; SparkPeople has been a source of information and inspiration for me since 2007. Have the demographics of Spark Members changed so drastically in that time, that you no longer feature articles useful to people over 60 yo?
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Great article! Report
So much fun to be outdoors! Report
PLCHAPPELL
Great info Report
Paddle boarding was incredibly fun - & intense! It was a great workout. Report
I LOVE summer!! Report
Fun in the sun if the sun isn't too hot. Report
GREAT Report
Great suggestions! Report
Great article! Report
Great article! Report
Great exercises Report
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About The Author

Alicia Capetillo
Alicia Capetillo
Alicia graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a minor in film and media studies. Prior to joining SparkPeople, she worked in marketing and public relations and once left it all behind to backpack through South America. Alicia enjoys making every muscle weep at Orangetheory Fitness, farmers markets, planning trips to practically every country and cheering aggressively for her beloved Cincinnati Reds and New Orleans Saints. She can also make a mean guacamole on toast.