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7 Fun Ways to Burn Fat this Fall

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Fall in out in full force where I live, always competing against spring for the title of my favorite season. While I don't enjoy the darker days and the chilly nights, I love the lack of humidity, the changing leaves, and the moderate temperatures that are characteristic of most Autumn days here. When the scenery is beautiful and the temperature comfortable, almost any activity—including exercise—seems more fun and enjoyable. Here are seven worthwhile pastimes that can help you get fit, burn calories and enjoy the beautiful outdoors before winter strikes!

Flag Football: 520 calories* per hour
For me, fall is football season. I have so many good memories of watching football games with my friends, but why should we all watch from the stands? You don't have to be a pro athlete to toss around the pigskin at your local park or even in your own backyard. Grab some friends (or the kids!) and head outdoors for a fun game of flag or touch football to burn more than 500 calories per hour. Then you won't have to feel guilty about spending hours watching your favorite team from your comfy couch (although you might pick up some sweet moves to try in your next game with friends). If football isn't you thing, how about soccer? It's comparable in calorie burn and doesn’t require the hand-eye coordination—just foot-eye!

Raking Leaves: 260 calories* per hour
I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, raking leaves was actually fun! (Maybe because it meant you'd get to jump in the big piles when you were done?) If you are raking up leaves, change the movement and direction to make full use of your muscles. Rake in front of your body to target your shoulders. Rake both right to left and left to right to work both arms evenly. This way, you'll help prevent blisters by avoiding repetitive motions too.

Horseback Riding: 470 calories* per hour
I have to admit something: I have never been horseback riding. That said, I don't have a true perspective on how much muscle is really required to ride a horse, and whether it's aerobically challenging or not. I have heard that horseback riding is not only fun, but that it also works muscles you're not accustomed to using and burns a good amount of calories. It's a great way to enjoy nature and the beautiful season. You can check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find a stable in your area.

Take a Hike: 400 calories* per hour
Hiking is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a fall day with my four-legged fitness buddy in tow. 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 than walking alone. 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!

Join a Race: 460-680 calories* per hour
Spring and fall are my favorite seasons for running. Fall is especially popular among runners, so you're sure to find a race you can run or walk almost every weekend this fall, including Halloween races and Thanksgiving Day events, too. 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 230 calories during a 5K; running at 6 miles per hour burns 340 calories for the same distance.

Pick a Pumpkin: 175 calories* per hour
Visiting a local pumpkin patch is a fun fall activity for kids and grownups of all ages. You could spend hours searching for the perfect pumpkin, and while you do, you'll be accumulating several hundred steps into your day as long as you say no to the hay ride to and from the patch! Up the ante by carrying your pumpkin as far as you can that day, but do so carefully. Keep the pumpkin as close to your body as possible and always squat down (don't bend) to pick one up or set it down for a break. If you spend an hour walking leisurely among the rows of pumpkins, you could burn about 150-200 calories. Extend your day of fall activity by trying out the corn maze and picking a few apples at the nearby orchard. Not as much as some other activities, but far more than walking from the parking lot to the grocery store and back!

Visit a Haunted House: 150-280 calories* per hour
I do not like being scared. Just watching the preview for a horror movie makes my heart race! If fear is the culprit behind your racing pulse, no, you are not getting the same aerobic (or calorie burning) benefits as a workout. The activity of walking or—better yet—running through a haunted maze, theme park or house, however, does the trick! This is a great way to enjoy the season and fit in a little more physical activity to your day. Walk through the frightful space and you'll burn about 150 per hour, but run or sprint away from those scary ghouls and you'll increase the burn to over 250 calories per hour!

*All calorie burned estimates from's fitness database are based on a 150-pound woman; people who weigh more will burn more calories.

How are you having fun and burning calories this fall?

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KOALA_BEAR 11/22/2019
I miss horseback riding, no wonder I was a skinny kid; we had to first catch our horses to ride them! Here on the central coast of Calif it might be the same as always: A walk on the beach by the ocean if not too windy, or by the Monterey bay. There are no leaves to rake in my yard & I have no interest in a visit to a pumpkin patch or corn maze. Might do a maze next year when I'm back east. Report
As an avid horseback rider, I can attest to the muscles used when riding. It's a great whole body workout! Arms, chest, lower body, and especially abs get used. I don't know how much cardio one really gets, but it's a great strength workout! Report
I love Fall! I think apple-picking and canning count as calorie burners, too. It's a very active time in our household. Report
Don't forget Soccer...a great fall activity that burns tons of calories! I have been playing with my kids and am loving it! Report
I liked the pumpkin patch idea. Might be fun to take the grandbaby with me. Just trying to keep up with him should give me some extra calorie burning. Report
Great ideas! Thank you. Report
All my life I have wanted to ride a horse. These numbers have given me a reason to try harder. I wouldn't mind playing flag football either. I do have a mini tramp and I can jump high and have fun with it. Or do I have to put it out on the patio? lol Thanks Coach Nicole! Report
all good ideas!! Love to ride horseback myself. used to do it all the time and it does use muscle you normally don't use.
as for walking now in the country it is the start of hunting season so do wear the orange!! Report
Terrific ideas for some extra exercise! Report
I love walking in the fall. the beautiful colors of the leaves and the brisk fresh air. Report
I need to get out and do some garden work soon. I always feel great after I get that done. Report
Today I dug up a corner of the front yard and planted a new perreniel garden. Still have to put the border down tomorrow and mulch it, but it looks really pretty so far. Next spring I may expand it. Yes, I'm sore now, LOL! Too bad my pedometer doesn't read digging, carrying heavy objects and kneeling, etc. Report
Thanks for the idea. I plan to take the family to one of our local Pumpkin Patches real soon. Report
Thanks for sharing your ideas. They sound like a lot of fun. Will be trying some.:-) Report
I really appreciate that they included the horseback riding but its all in how you ride that determines the calories burned... if you just sit on the couch like its a chair with legs its not going to do much for you but a friend of mine wore her heart rate monitor during a 30 minute upper level Dressage lesson followed by 45 minutes galloping her way through a 3' cross-country eventing course and burned closer to 1500 calories!!! Report
I rode my adopted horse yesterday for only 40 minutes and I am SORE this morning. Yes, you do use a lot of muscles! But is it ever FUN! Report
I don't like being scared, either!
I love the horseback riding idea - it's the perfect time of year for it! Report
Walking in Fall is great but remember it is also the beginning og hunting season in many areas. Wear Orange and be mindful of your surroundings. Report
So nice to know that those of us who weigh more than 150 pounds are burning more calories than the amount listed in the fitness tracker. Now I don't feel so bad for having to walk a 23 minute mile. My herniated disk doesn't allow me to power walk! Report
I have a huge backyard with lots of trees...I don't feel like doing the treadmill walk today, so I'm going to go out in the sunshine and rake those leaves! Should burn lots of calories LOL...Plus I'm leaving on vacation this Saturday, going to the Canadian Rockies. And it's a hiking vacation. I'm so excited! Can't wait to see all those beautiful mountains :) Report
We took my nephew apple picking and I made a low-fat apple crisp with the apples. It was great Report
To the pumpkin patch, haunted house and raking leaves are in my 'fall' lineup.

Thanks for sharing!!! Report
Riding horses works out muscles you didn't know you had!

Haunted houses? Sounds great. I don't like the raking leaves, I like leaving them scattered and crunching through them all the time. Plus it's good for the yard. Report
Riding a horse most certainly gives you a work out. I use to ride my horse down in the woods and I'd have to walk her through a lot of places we couldn't ride too. Report
I was actually thinking of taking my son to the pumpkin patch this weekend. Think I will stick around there for a while. The one we are going to has a corn maze so I am sure I can rake up some calories trying to find my way out. =] Report
im surprised that you can burn so many calories riding a horse Report
LOL !!! What great, ingenious exercise alternatives - espcially the haunted house and maze. Report
my favorite season . fall next is spring . no visits to haunted house lived in one as a child . Report
No leaves to rake here yet but I have been getting out walking more. I was doing all of my exercise indoors but now that the weathers getting cooler I can do more outside. Report
We always go to the pumpkin patch and corn maze, we might do the "haunted trail" this year, and I love hiking and doing yard work in the fall. I have a lot of pruning, weeding and raking to do! Report
Oh, my! I am going to have to say yes, the next time my husband asks me to come horseback riding with him! :-) Great article. Thanks!
I live on 6 acres of woods thats a lot leaves to rake. Does that increase my calories burned? Report
I'm actually looking forward to raking up the leaves this year! lol Thanks for that info.. As for flag football I'd love to play but I am soo clueless as to all the rules! Report
Fall is my favorite season and now reading this its very interesting Report
Will I can tell you that setting up for a little bit of a haunted house is kind of fun. I love haunted house and that's why each year the decorations at my house grow. Or plain is to eventually have a full walk through with all kinds of scares in store. and this year I'm a zombie running around in the yard. That should be real fun and a great workout. Report
last night i took a bike ride in the neighborhood & really enjoyed the fresh cool autumn air! we've got hikes scheduled for the next two weekends. and i think i'll add a trip to an apple orchard to the itinerary. i like taking my fitness outside.

thanks to the list i'm going to find a thanksgiving day run that takes walkers. Report
To echo some of the earlier comments, corn mazes are a very fun activity. I don't like haunted houses, forests, barns, etc either, but I love corn mazes. They are especially fun at night - just dress super warm, bring plenty of flashlights, and wear old tennis shoes or rain boots and older pants in case it is muddy. :) Report
Love Fall!! Report
I do have horses and love to ride. I can tell you that you work muscles you didn't even know you had lol. Report
I really enjoyed this. Thank You! Report
Fall is a favorite time of the year for me when it's not to hot nor to cold. I'm not able to walk very far so if I want to walk farther, I use a walker for support. Report
I love taking walks & we do a lot of wood cutting (picking up and stacking wood makes every muscle ache so it's gotta be good excercise). :) Report
I'm one of those lucky folks with my own horse. There is no greater way to enjoy the trails through various forest areas than on the back of a horse. The view from a few feet up is incredible. And yes, you do work a few muscles...often unknowingly. Core muscles & legs get a good workout without feeling like 'exercise'! Report
I just went to a pumpkin patch yesterday with my youngest. It was so much fun. They had so many other activities besides just picking out a pumpkin. Loved it! We were there for 3 hours. Report
it's nice to walk through the apple farms, pick your own apples and have a cup of cider on the front porch of the "farm" i go to. we wander through the maze of pumkins and mums at the farm and just enjoy the season. every once in awhile we drive around the reservoir and look at the foliage. how many times have i stopped the car to get out and take pictures of "the beauty of nature?" Report
Absolutely nothing better than a long hike in the autumn woods! Report
Horse Riding is challenging to say the very least, especially is you haven't done it in a while or ever! Report
They all sound like a great way to move in the fall. . .will be trying some of them out. Thank you for the great ideas. Report
just moved to a mountainous area, so i'll be hiking all fall! Report
How many calories do you burn when you get startled in the haunted house and accidentally punch an actor in the face? (a true and very embarrassing story...:) Report