As a person who incorporates fitness into my everyday life—whether I'm at home or traveling—I sure do plan to staying active even when I'm on a relaxing vacation. After all, with no distractions and nothing but free time, what excuse do I have? The more activity you can build into any vacation, the better your chances of returning with all the good things (think souvenirs and memories) and none of the bad (extra padding around the middle). In fact, most people do want to relax and indulge a little on vacation, and that's fine. But planning for extra activity will definitely help you stay on track with your fitness and weight management goals.
While you may think that's boring, I've got news for you: Vacation exercise isn't about the treadmill. There are tons of fun, active ways you can torch calories and get a workout without even realizing it. Here are some of the many activities I can't wait to try during my own vacation (and a rundown of how many calories* each one burns).
Sitting by the water: 80 calories/hour
While this is what a lot of people think of when they imagine vacation, I'm putting this here as comparison to the ones ahead. These are not "extra" calories: Your body burns these no matter what. But if you're drinking a margarita while you sit, you're really throwing that calorie balance off its kilter. Instead, try one of the fun ideas below.
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Building a sandcastle: 100 calories/hour
indulge the kid in you by making a sandcastle. If you dig sand and carry it, and place your castle further away from the water, you'll make multiple trips to and from your castle/water using your legs, core and arm strength to heave full buckets. That'll burn 2-3 x the calories and give you an "interval" type workout.
Boost the burn: Add some isometric holds or try a few biceps curls when your buckets are full or sand or water to work your muscles!Fishing: 120-150 calories/hour
fishing is a relaxing stress reliever for many. While it doesn't count as exercise it's one of those activity "bonuses" that keep you moving, which is always better than being totally sedentary. Plus, if you can eat the fish you catch, you're doing your body well!
Boost your burn: Stand instead of sit; walk the edge of the water instead of standing still. More movement = more calories burned.Playing Frisbee: 175 calories/hour
Frisbee is a fun activity that engages your shoulders and arms while improving hand-eye coordination. Like fishing, it's part of an active lifestyle, but generally doesn't take the place of a workout.
Boost the burn: Add some running or jump up to catch the Frisbee. For a real challenge, try tossing the Frisbee with your non-dominant hand. That'll get your partner running like crazy to catch it, assuming your aim isn't as good as your dominant hand.Boogie boarding: 200-250 calories/hour
Boogie boarding uses your whole body, much like swimming does, but unlike surfing or paddle boarding, you don't need as much skill, coordination or balance to do it. Plus it's FUN and it gets your heart rate up high enough to count as a cardio workout.
Boost the burn: Keep on kicking with your arms and legs as long as possible. Stays moving instead of letting waves passively pull you, and you'll blast even more fat.Jumping waves: 300 calories/hour
Perhaps one of the most fun things about the beach, jumping in the waves uses all the major muscles of your lower body, helping you build explosive speed and power. Plus, that water acts as additional resistance for an ever greater calorie burn and toning factor than jumping on land.
Boost the burn: In addition to jumping when the waves come, mix in a little water jogging and you'll burn 400-500 calories per hour!Beach racquetball, badminton, and paddleball: 300-450 calories/hour
These fun games use your full body, and help improve speed, agility and hand-eye coordination. One thing all of these games have in common is that they involve bursts of high-intensity effort followed by a little downtime or rest, which is also known as interval training—and a great way to train your heart and lungs while burning major calories.
Boost the burn: Play singles instead of doubles for about two times the calorie burn. You'll be running all over the court and get an even better workout!Ocean kayaking: 350 calories/hour
The first and only time I ever kayaked was in the ocean as a teenager. What a cool experience! Using your arms repetitively to paddle in the water really ups your heart rate and challenges your body in a way that traditional (think leg-focused) cardio doesn't. You have to try it to see what it's like!
Boost the burn: Try to paddle as much as possible without taking a rest and you'll get a great aerobic workout. Work against the resistance of the current, and you'll burn even more.Beach walking and running: 330-800 calories/hour
Walking or running on deep, loose sand challenges your balance and engages more muscle fibers, which means you'll burn 30% more calories than walking or running on a flat surface, even when working at the same speed!
Boost the burn: The deeper the sand, the bigger your calorie burn.Swimming: 410 calories/hour
Swimming is an awesome aerobic (cardio) workout that works your whole body. The great thing about exercising in water is that it cools you off and makes your workout feel easier than it actually is (it's true—research has proven it).
Boost the burn: Work against the current to for extra resistance and challenge. You know what that means: bigger calorie burn!Beach volleyball: 500 calories/hour
Beach volleyball calls on your hips and legs for running and jumping and your upper body for striking the ball — it also builds team spirit among all participants.
Boost the burn: The fewer people on your team, the better your workout. When you have to cover more of the court, you'll be running around and working up a sweat—but having fun while doing it!
*Calories burned estimates based on a 150-pound female.
What's your favorite way to burn calories at the beach?
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