Before winter hits and an outdoor workout is more of a chore than a joy (yes there are some committed runners and others who workout straight through the winter – I know, I’ve seen them while driving by on my way to the gym), here are some fun ways you can squeeze in some outdoor workouts.
1. Raking Leaves
Raking leaves is a fantastic upper-body workout that will burn about 270 calories per hour depending on how fast you work. While raking be sure to change your movements and the direction your raking in to get an even better workout. Hold the rake in front of your body to give your shoulders a good workout. Rake from right to left and then switch and rake from left to right to work both arms. Rake the leaves into a pile and do some running jumps into the pile. Tip: this only works if you’re doing it with kids Be sure to bag up the leaves and carry them away to work your muscles and burn more calories.
2. Play Ball
Get together with some friends or the spouse and kiddos and head outdoors for a fun game of touch or flag football and you’ll burn more than 500 calories in an hour and have lots more fun than spending that same hour on the treadmill at the gym.
3. Chop Wood
If you have a wood burning fireplace, a fire pit or a beach nearby you can burn 300 calories per hour chopping wood.
4. Pick Yourself a Pretty Pumpkin
Visiting a pumpkin farm is a fun fall activity for kids AND grownups. So if you don’t have any young kids grab some friends or the older kids and head on out for an afternoon of pumpkin picking. While you’re searching for just the perfect pumpkin or pumpkins you’ll be adding steps into your day, so say no to the hay ride to and hike from the parking lot to the pumpkin patch. Amp up your pumpkin workout by carrying your pumpkin as far as you can. Be sure to keep the pumpkin as close to your body as possible and always squat down (don’t bend from the waist) to pick one up or set it down for a break.
You’ll rack up 175 calories per hour tromping through the pumpkin patch and 135 calories when carrying your pumpkin for 30 minutes.
5. Get Lost in a Corn Maze
After your pumpkin workout you can continue the activities by trekking through a corn maze. The corn maze will burn 150 to 200 calories per hour.
6. Picking Apples
Picking apples and carrying your bootie back to your car will rack up 200 calories per hour. If the farm has a manual cider mill, crank your apples into mush for cider later.
7. Go on a Horseback Ride
You can ride solo or coral the gang together for a trail ride. Horseback riding is not only a blast, but it also uses muscles you’re not accustomed to working with and burns 470 calories per hour. I know! I couldn’t believe it either. The horse does the work, while you sit there and you’re still burning calories! Well obviously that’s not entirely true, but it sure feels that way.
8. Hit the Trails
Uneven terrain and any hills you encounter on the trail will force your body to work harder than if you were walking on a flat surface. You’ll be working your leg and core muscles to adjust to the terrain and challenging your balance which is one part of the exercise regime that we often forget to engage. All this translates to a bigger calorie burn than walking alone. You’ll be walking off 400 to 500 calories per hour depending on the terrain and your walking speed. Plus when you’re paying attention to the scenery, sounds and scents along the trail you’ll forget you’re actually getting in a workout!
9. Find a Race
You’re sure to find a race you can run or walk almost every weekend this autumn, especially with Halloween races and Thanksgiving Day events on most community calendars. Check out SparkPeople’s free 5K training programs and free 10K training programs to get started, or join a local running group to train for an upcoming race in your area. You’ll burn 450 to 650 calories per hour while training and on race day.
10. Get Your Scare On
Walk through a haunted house and you’ll burn 75 calories in thirty minutes. Run and you’ll burn 125 calories in 30 minutes.
So get out and get fit, keep fit, and just enjoy the fall season while working towards your health and weight loss goals.