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7 Fun Ways to Burn Big Calories This Spring

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Do you love spring as much as I do? It's so energizing to wake up when the sun is shining, enjoy the outdoors without wearing a coat, and see the green grass and tiny flower buds flanking the streets. Every sunny day, I lament that I'm in the office instead of outdoors, which is why I get outside as much as possible after work and each weekend. When the scenery is beautiful and the temperature perfect, almost any activity—including exercise—seems more fun and enjoyable. Here are 7 worthwhile pastimes that can help you get fit, burn calories and enjoy the outdoors this spring!

Tennis: 470 calories* per hour
Even if you're not a pro, tennis is a fun sport for people of all ability levels. Racquets and a can of balls are inexpensive (about $25) at big box stores like Target or Wal-Mart, plus you can find used ones at spring garage sales or secondhand sporting goods stores, too. Whether your play with a friend, significant other, or by yourself (any large wall will do), you'll burn almost 500 calories per hour. Look for clinics this spring if you want lessons, or try the fitness class Cardio Tennis at a court or tennis club near you!

5K Race: 460-680 calories* per hour
I will admit that walking and running aren't always fun on their own, but when the seasons change, you'll find me jogging a lot more. Spring is the season for 5K races, as well as marathons, 10Ks and other distances. Running my first 5K last year was a great experience—all the training leading up to it is so worth the experience! Check out SparkPeople's free 5K and 10K training programs to get started, or join a local running group to train for an upcoming race in your area! Walking at a 15-minute per mile pace, you'll burn 228 calories during a 5K; running at 6 miles per hour burns 341 calories for the same distance.

Gardening and Yard Work: 210-360 calories* per hour
Call me crazy, but I enjoy working in the yard. Luckily, my yard is a tiny one, otherwise I might not feel that way! I like to do all the work myself, without a motorized mower, hedger or blower. I use a push mower (363 calories per hour), which increases the intensity of mowing the lawn, a manual edger (this one is hard work!) to trim grass along the sidewalks and driveways, and a good old rake to gather leaves. I also grow fruits and vegetables in a small garden, which requires weeding, planting and pruning, all done by hand. Gardening is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and take pride in your home's appearance. General yard work burns about 300 calories per hour—not a bad way to work out while you beautify your home!

Frisbee Golf: 220 calories* per hour
I will admit that I have not played Frisbee golf or "disc golf" since middle school gym class, but that is mostly due to my lack of coordination than to the fun factor of the game. Frisbee golf is fun for kids and adults—and it's an inexpensive pursuit. Most courses are free—you just have to know where to find them. The Professional Disc Golf Association's Website makes it easy to find the nearest of 2,875 U.S. courses, most of which are in local parks or college campuses. Expect to spend a couple hours walking and on your feet to complete a single course and to burn about 220 calories per hour.

Cycling: 270 calories* per hour
A great low-impact alternative to walking, biking is a great way to return to the outdoors this spring. Many bike paths and trails are available in major cities and small towns alike. Whether your bike for transportation (to work or while running errands) or fun, you'll burn 270 calories per hour (at a 10 mph pace) and strengthen your legs and lungs at the same time! Get started with these bicycle safety tips.

Wash Your Car: 250 calories per hour
On the first few days of spring, you'll find motorcycles, convertibles, and scooters out in full force as drivers jump at the chance to bring out their automobile "babies" for a spin after a long winter in hiding. You'll also see long lines at the car wash. There's something about spring that makes us want to clean up our cars, am I right? Save money and do it yourself by hand washing, drying and waxing your car at home (or at the DIY carwash instead of the automatic one). With a little elbow grease, she'll be shining in no time and you'll have burned 250 calories in an hour's time. (A little green tip: Washing a car in your driveway can be bad for the environment; monitor your water usage and choose waterless or eco-friendly detergents to limit your burden.)

Hit the Trails: 400 calories* per hour
Hiking is one of my favorite ways to work out during spring. The uneven terrain and inclines you encounter on the trail force your body to work harder than walking on a flat surface. That means you're recruiting more muscle fibers (to adjust to the terrain) and challenging your balance (therefore engaging your core). That translates to a bigger calorie burn: 400 calories per hour, to be exact. Plus, the scenery, sounds and scents along the way are so beautiful that I forget I'm huffing and puffing as I climb the hills!

*All calorie counts based on a 145-pound woman; people who weigh more will burn more calories.

How are you having fun and burning calories this spring?

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All great and fun ideas! :) Report
Anyone who knows me will tell you that it's BIKE season now! After buying a bike last August I've become addicted to riding. Wind chill yesterday was in the 30's yesterday, but that didn't keep me from riding 26 miles. Report
Hate to say it, but last week I was still burning with snow shovelling! The snow is nearly gone now, and today's flurries didn't stick. Spring will bring - gardening, hiking with the dogs, riding my horses, biking on trails ... what a wonderful time of year :) Report
I feel great today. I walked 10K in the park--around two lakes and through the woods. So many wildflowers to see in the fresh new grass and trees blossoming against a deep blue sky. Then I came home to clean the house and get ready for Easter dinner tomorrow. Report
We need LOTS of exercise. Report
If I can give my body a workout and somehow accomplish something tangible at the same time, whether it's a clean car, clean house, yardwork, etc., I am one happy camper! Report
I love spring and can't wait for the weather to warm up some more in our area. I have noticed hardy people riding bikes already, though. I think we will see more of this if the economy doesn't pick up. It does scare me to death to see bicycles coming at me on the wrong side of the road--keep stressing that bicycles belong on the SAME SIDE OF THE ROAD AS CARS.
Thanks for the information about washing cars in an environmentally friendly way, that was very helpful. Report
I've used the Spark maps to plot some longer walks in my area. This has been a great motivator in getting me outside more, walk longer distances, and I've used the time to work on Scripture memorization. Thank you, Spark!! Report
How fun! Report
Thank you for the tips. Sometimes it is nice to read new suggestions for spring. :o) Report
I tried to imagine washing my car for an hour and then it occured to me, the inside of my car is probably dirtier than the outside. That alone could take an hour :-) Report
Hadn't heard of "Frisbee Golf" before this article. I looked it up online and found some courses nearby. This sounds like fun and something our whole family might try this Spring! Already do the gardening, tennis, car washing and hiking, and I am always looking for new things to try, so, thanks for the info. Report
I'm ready for the hiking. Thanks for the tips. Report
LOL!! I own a small used car lot - maybe this will make me enjoy washing cars a little more??? Report
I can't wait till I can get a garden going and maybe do some walking besides on my stationary to have dirrerent scenery to look at and hear Nature at it's finest!! Report
I love to walk, a nice day like today includes a 1 hour 4 mile walk. Also going to start the yard work on the bright sunny spring day, we'll see the calorie burn as I will use my heart rate monitor for the 1st time! Enjoy the Sunshine!! Report
I like walking the bike trail. I also like walking to my water aerobics class, weather permitting. Report
This is my favorite time of year. It is always so beautiful here in Dallas during this time of year. Report
My husband is the gardner, but I help pull weeds & dig the holes for the plants. I really enjoy mowing the grass. We have an incline in our yard so I think I get a workout. My husband thinks I'm nut for liking to do the mowing. We don't have a riding mower either. When we go to the lake I walk the trails. I get to enjoy the wild animals while I'm getting exercise.
A 5k race might burn 460 - 680 calories an hr but it only takes (me) 20mins to run.
That's about 150 calories.
'Unfortunately' I'm a very active person. Burning colories is the easy bit, it's the putting them in that I get wrong. Report
I love to garden and today I spent two hours turning the soil in my garden. Before winter I put horse manure on it and now it is ready to plant. I just have to wait until is gets a little warmer to put my plants in. Love eating all the fresh vegatalbes. Report
there is nothing like excercising in the great outdoors !!! Report
My significant other and I donated a disc golf course to our hometown Pittsburg KS. If you are in the area, go by and see my name on a huge sign. "Disk Golf donated by Larry L. Shanks and Ann Major" thats ME! Its free of course. Report
I am hitting the lovely scenic trails of Oregon this spring and also participating in U.S. Dragon boat Sports. It's quite a workout! Report
I love springtime. I'm not able to be on my feet much, but I started some container gardening, and purchased an inflatable pool. I can move much better in water, and am looking forward to doing some light water aerobics. Here in Phoenix, the weather is perfect now, but will be heating up soon, and that pool will get a lot of use! Report
Oh yea, Spring is a good time to get out for some fresh air too. Most of my clients are doing a 5K road race this Mother's Day. Report
I am so getting back out there an playing tennis and biking! I just wish it wasn't still cold in Chicago :) Report
By playing golf...walking the course not riding in a cart. Kind of exhausting but oh so much easier thanks to the last 9 months and working out. Report
Swimming laps! Great way to exercise in the heat here in Tucson, AZ!

Beth G Report
Have plans to wash my car on Saturday. Weather is just starting to look better so I will get out and do some walking and jogging. Also bathe the dog. Thanks for the info. Report
I'm going to wait for some warmer days and then wash my own car. It's now 8 years old, but still looks good. Getting my money's worth out of it every. Report
I usually ride a stationary bike and do a treadmill but I also walk downtown and to the city hall and library all within a mile of where I live. I have also played Frisbee Golf which I really found a lot of fun. I did do a lot of walking even though we only went 6 holes. We had to go up a lot of hills and down others. They were far away from each other. I used to love playing tennis but my TKR won't let me run too much anymore. I live in an apt. building so I can't do the gardening I used to do. I really miss that and I don't own a car. Drat!!! Report
I love getting out and biking, walking, and running! Last summer I started jump roping with the kids..... what a great workout that was!!!

Just being outside is awesome so I am loving that it is getting warmer here in Minnesota! Report
I will do geocaching to get more exercise looking for the hidden treasures. Report
I'm looking forward to taking my bike out for a ride. I love riding along the river first thing in the morning. Report
I too use a push mower, I wash my vehicle, I walk, I do my own gardening, move pots, fish, play with the grand ones, etc. Report
I was pouting cause there's not really any organized sports except softball, and when my husband plays, I've got to watch our that was out of the question...Then someone aproached him about tennis...and I thought for a second..."I'd love to try it!" I did...And now I play every chance I get!!!
I've discovered tennis recently! Me, an overweight 51 yr. old who never dreamed I'd be playing that, or any, game! But last spring my family started out with badminton in our backyard (which we still enjoy), then came the Wii tennis & I thought, "wow, I'd like to play 'real' tennis" And after I'd been exercising & lost a few pounds, I said, "Why not?" So, my sons found this old court near our home, & we were off for our first adventure! It was, & still is, pretty comical to watch, but man, is it fun!
We've chased them balls four times now, at a run down court, once after it had rained heavily (I don't recommend that!), and twice at a court with no fence behind one side-that was a little too much chasing balls! I can't wait till the next time to play-each trip has been a wonderful time with my sons-they're 16 & 22, so I know they'll be leaving the nest before I know it, and we won't have as much time to spend together. But maybe they'll still meet up with their old (but not overweight) mom for a few minutes of chasing those little yellow balls!
Oh, and yesterday, after an hour of tennis, my son said "guess we won't be playing badminton today" after all the tennis, but guess what-we were out in the backyard in the evening, we noticed the winds were calm, and we ended up playing badminton for an hour- until we could no longer see that little birdie! Wow, it feels good to burn those calories, but even better having so much fun at it!
Thanks SP!! Report
I'm planning on working in my yard, which desperately needs it, and cycling is a family favorite. Report
Wow ..........I did not know that working in the yard and gardening burned 210-360 calories per hour. Report
I'm running my very first 5k on the 19th, so I've been running outdoors as much as I can lately to prepare for it. Too bad nice weather seems to be only coming around a couple of days a week around here [New Jersey], even though it's spring. We even had some flurries on Wednesday! Report
This is great, an actual list of calories burned. I usually guess low; thanks for clarifying! Report
I'm going to increase the size of my garden. To do this, I'm going to dig out an area 20' by 3' by 2' deep and replace the dirt with topsoil. Then I'm going to use the dirt to build a raised patio. Should burn lots of calories by the time I'm done! Report
I want to get into geo-caching. I went a few times with my daughter and it's a lot of fun fi you like treasure hunting. Report
I've been baby sitting a lot more, and it gets tiring from chasing them around the house, up and down the stairs, so besides getting a work out from that, I strap them into a stroller.. well I'm going to. I plan on taking them for long walks when the weather gets a little nicer. Or taking them to parks will help too. Report
I'm going on a four mile mountain hike tomorrow. It will bring us to the top of a mountain in Macon County, NC, with a lookout tower and we will be able to see for miles and miles. Here is a link to a great picture near the tower.
I like this - "People who wweight more will burn more calories." Just kid.... Report
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