By: Health Local Staff Jun 20, 2011
summer fitness

Have fun while burning calories with these outdoor summer activities.

In the summer months, going to the gym can be… uninspiring, to say the least. You look out the window, it’s sunny and pleasant, but you’re stuck pumping iron alone in the smelly gym. Being inside one makes you feel as though everyone seems to be enjoying the weather but you. So your conundrum: how ever will you maintain your stringent work out routine whilst enjoying the warmer months of the year? The answer is easier than you may think.

Enjoy being outside with your friends and family – or even by yourself! Many activities, from yard work, to splashing around in the waves, to walking your dog can really add up over the course of the day. Pick a few activities to enjoy to the fullest during the summer!

The two places that you most stereotypically spend time during the summer are your yard and the beach. In the yard, beyond grilling, you play with the dog and do yard work. Do such activities burn any calories? Why yes!

Even something as low key as weeding the garden burns over 300 calories in an hour. An hour of raking burns around 350 calories. When mowing, use a push mower rather than a riding mower to burn nearly 450 calories in an hour!

Walking the dog burns about 100 calories in only 30 minutes. To give a boost to the number, run around your yard or wrestle with your dog afterwards to burn 150 calories in only 30 minutes. Have you noticed playing with your dog is good for you physically and mentally? Few things make your smile bigger than a playful romp with your pup. And lest we forget that an exhausted dog is a happy dog.

The beach is full of great ways to burn calories, and enjoy all the things that make summer great. Unfortunately, lying on your beach towel baking away your skin cells isn’t one of them, but frolicking and sporting in the sun, the sand, and the waves burns an impressive number of calories.

Swimming is fairly well known for being an intense calorie burning sport. Unfortunately, “sport” is the operative word. 30 minutes of the most vigorous treading burns about 350 calories. Splashing around the way most people do is better than nothing, and it does add up after an hour or so. 30 minutes of kayaking or canoeing will do you one better, burning about 200 calories.

The recently popular beach sport Beach Volleyball wins the beach sports highest calorie burning award. 30 minutes of play burns between 150 and 400 calories, depending on the ferocity of the match. Tossing around a Frisbee or a ball with your friends for 30 minutes burns around 120 calories. And it burns more if someone playing is bad at throwing and if you’re bad at catching, which means each of you is spending as much or more time running than throwing. A rousing game of badminton burns between 150 and 200 calories.

If you like being on the beach but just aren’t one for vigorous exercise, a brisk-paced walk burns 200 calories in 30 minutes – an hour-long walk burns around 400!

Calorie for calorie there doesn’t seem to be a considerable difference between what you can burn at the gym vs. outside. However, in terms of scenery, cost (hey, the outdoors are free), vitamin D exposure and breathing in stinky sweat vs. fresh air, there is clearly no comparison. Which way to the beach?

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at