It’s summertime, and likely you have that summer feeling – restless and ready to get in shape. Getting the chiseled, muscle-bound body you want takes work. Work as in physical activity that burns calories like a torch. You want the type of exercise beyond taking your dog for a casual walk.
And now that summer is here, outdoor activities are your go-to for burning calories that challenges your body to perform at its best.
Here’s a look at eight challenging and sometimes rugged outdoor activities. Maybe you’ve tried them or done them regularly. Or, maybe few have been on your radar until now. Whichever is the case, the important thing is to ramp up calorie burn, you have to push your body beyond a certain point, demanding it challenges rarely used muscles or past your usual exercise comfort zone. Then, of course, do so carefully and within reason, depending on your physicality level. But also have fun. The points are to challenge but with safety in mind and enjoy the feeling of getting in shape.
1. Mountain biking: Once you’ve tried mountain biking, you’ll never quite find the same satisfaction on a stationary bike again. With better scenery, enjoyment of nature, more challenge and excitement, mountain biking is a top outdoor recreational activity for reaping many health benefits. Riding a mountain bike is a whole-body exercise from your glutes to your quads to your core. Not only will you gain better balance and coordination, less stress on joints, and improved heart health, but you’ll sleep like a log once your head hits the pillow at night.
2. Kayaking: Now, here’s a sport that’s the definition of how to have fun and get in shape simultaneously. Whether you work out leisurely or hardcore, kayaking on a beautiful lake or ocean is a summertime treat, mentally and physically. The health benefits of kayaking include learning to balance while in the water and using your upper body and core strength as you propel yourself forward. In addition, the rotational movements required for kayaking are perfect for sculpting six-pack abs and defining strong, better-looking arms. And if the current is a challenge, give yourself bonus points.
3. Rock climbing: What better way to get a rock-hard body than to scale a mountain. Or, if heights scare you, you can also do indoor rock climbing. Either way, rock climbing provides a mental and physical boost, pushing you to your limits. From head to toe, this outdoor activity wins the prize for best in increasing strength and grip, improves balance, involves problem-solving, boosts confidence, and is a calorie-burner.
4. Water-skiing: No other sport quite says ‘summer’ like water-skiing. Besides being fun, it’s a great way to keep fit while cooling off under a hot summer sun. And it does have significant health benefits. First, your core muscles will get a workout like no other. To get up on your skis and keep your body in a stable position takes incredibly strong abdominal muscles. Second, water-skiing will kick-start your metabolism, burning calories at a higher rate than usual. Plus, your balance and coordination will be challenged, making you a master at preventing falls. Lastly, many avid water-skiers claim the sport calms your nerves and relieves stress. A perfect way to end a day.
4. Volleyball: Planning on spending a day at the beach? Be sure to bring a volleyball, round up your friends, and start a game of pure fun. Even played in a gym, volleyball can be a grueling, full-body sport that involves jumping, diving, lunging, quick reflexes, and fast-twitch movements. It also builds teamwork and improves communication with teammates, elevating your mood as you get in shape.
5. Pickleball: This is not just for grandma and grandpa. This sport will keep you in constant motion, requires quick reflexes, and a ton of short burst energy revving up calorie-burn. Pick up a pickleball paddle, and you’ll be protecting your heart and boosting your mood. Designed with the intent to be carefree and fun – the best of both worlds.
6. Hiking: If you love the outdoors, hiking is your go-to. Hikes can be relatively easy or super tough, depending on your choice. But variety makes a difference. Steep inclines to flatlands, working out in a beautiful landscape, create a heart-boosting cardiovascular exercise that equates to a huge caloric burn. Completely weight-bearing, your bone health benefits, your blood pressure and blood sugar lower, your balance improves, and your legs, hips, and glutes will get the workout of a lifetime.
7. Football/Basketball: These two favorite sports are always a winner for getting in shape and keeping fit. Even if the last time you played either sport were back in high school or college, football and basketball’s quick bursts of energy and explosive moves honing your speed and agility while upping your coordination and working your core – are all the right moves for a calorie-burning summer activity.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.