Fitness
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Ditch the Gym and Lose Weight This Summer

Here are eight ways to drop pounds this season—and still have fun in the sun.

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By Patrick Sullivan

Ah, summer. The sun is warm, the drinks are cold and you don’t want to spend an hour or more stuck inside a dark gym. Luckily, you don’t have to! Here are eight fun-in-the-sun workouts you must try this season. (Calorie counts in this slideshow are based on a 150-pound person.)

Walking

2 / 9 Walking

Why get stuck on the treadmill when the weather is so beautiful? Walking is a great way to get outdoors, breathe in some fresh air and sneak in your daily workout. You may have heard that you should shoot for 10,000 steps a day, and while that’s an admirable goal, it’s okay to start where you are.

Getting yourself a fitness tracker could help: a small 2015 study found that nearly three of four participants maintained or increased their step goals by week 4 of a 16-week program while wearing a tracker. Walking at a moderate pace can burn 280 calories an hour.

Swimming and Water Exercise

3 / 9 Swimming and Water Exercise

When it’s hot outside, it feels great to take a dip in the pool, ocean or lake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swimming and other water-based exercises confer a number of benefits, especially for people with arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis see more health improvements than with other activities, and water-based exercise improves joint health and decreases pain in people with osteoarthritis. You don’t even need to do laps—just swimming leisurely can burn more than 400 calories an hour.

Biking

4 / 9 Biking

Riding a bike is a fun way to get where you’re going—and get fit. An easy ride can burn 290 calories an hour, while more vigorous pedaling can burn nearly 600. Unfortunately, there are several injuries associated with biking. Hospital admissions for bike injuries more than doubled from 1999 to 2013, so make sure to wear a helmet and bright, reflective clothing, and follow the rules of the road.

Golf

5 / 9 Golf

Next time you hit the green, do your waistline a favor and skip the golf cart; walking and carrying your clubs can burn up to 330 calories per hour. Just watch your back when you’re shouting “fore!” A 2014 analysis found that lower back pain was the most common health complaint of golfers, likely due to the twisting nature of a golf swing. 

Tennis

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Not only is tennis a great workout, but there’s something satisfying about whacking the ball over the net, too! Singles tennis can burn up to 549 calories per hour, according to the American Cancer Society. Plus, tennis can strengthen your bones; running and jumping helps keep the bones in your legs healthy, while swinging the racket and hitting the ball works the bones in your arms.

Gardening and Yard Work

7 / 9 Gardening and Yard Work

Why not knock out some chores while knocking out some calories? With yard work you can. Light gardening can burn about 330 calories per hour and pushing (not riding) a lawnmower is about the same. Cut the grass, plant some flowers and two hours later you’ll have burned the equivalent of a Big Mac, with a little room to spare.

Lawn Sports

8 / 9 Lawn Sports

Now that you’ve mowed the lawn, it’s time for yard games. Playing Frisbee or horseshoes will burn about 200 calories an hour, and croquet can burn 225. If you really want to turn up the heat, play Ultimate Frisbee; it burns about 544 calories. But if you have a set of lawn darts buried somewhere in the garage, leave them there. They’ve been banned since 1988 and prior to the ban sent about 670 people to the hospital every year. 

Paddling

9 / 9 Paddling

Canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding aren’t just for sightseeing—they can burn serious calories, too. Paddling a canoe will net you about 240 calories per hour, while kayaking is a little more vigorous, burning about 340 calories per hour. Stand-up paddle boarding burns even more—over 400 calories—and can improve balance, exercise your core and strengthen your bones.