7 Fun Ways to Burn BIG Calories this Spring

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/17/2013 6:00 AM   :  87 comments   :  31,476 Views

See More: fitness, cardio, spring,
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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Comments

  • MZZIPPERME
    87
    Great article. I'm also excited to see that the calories burned were based on a person smaller than myself. This is fantastic since I love being out in my yard all the time. I sit at work wishing I were at home so I could be out enjoying doing something out there. As there is always yard work to be done, if nothing but deadheading spent flowers. Happy exercising to all. - 5/21/2013   12:24:50 PM
  • CHERYLHURT
    86
    Good article! - 5/20/2013   5:40:54 AM
  • 85
    Thank you for all the great information! So excuse me, I have to go outside and do something!! - 5/18/2013   10:41:58 AM
  • 84
    I need to get out and get the yard worked on more. With the snow we had last month (finally had here) and the grass is high. I am also going to do a garden out there. - 5/17/2013   12:53:46 PM
  • STANDFIRMAJ
    83
    Great article! - 5/17/2013   10:03:56 AM
  • 82
    Thank you - for sharing, good tips to try! - 5/17/2013   8:56:53 AM
  • 81
    Good article. - 5/17/2013   8:00:58 AM
  • DELLMEL
    80
    I take care of the yard. I use a riding mower. But I have so many plants to take care of. I love to do my yard because Hubby just don't do it like I do. Love working in my garden. Canning my veggies and canning my fruit. Oh how I enjoy it. I wash my car as well. Hubby gets upset. I have right shoulder and left hip problem but I just can't sit around. - 5/17/2013   7:52:36 AM
  • 79
    He he - had to chuckle coz it just turned summer officially on dec 1 here in the land of Oz where I live... It has been so gorgeous this spring, plenty of rain this part of the country and here is hoping we avoid the bush fires of last summer. Since spring burst forth we have been swimming, cycling and lots of walking along the creek that runs through our urban neighbourhood. - 12/13/2009   8:41:08 PM
  • 78
    I love being outside. I've been planting flowers already. My mowing is behind with all the rain we've been getting. I have about 1.5 acres that I do all with a push mower and weed eater. Take almost 8 hrs. of mowing time. Lots of trees, bushes and flowers to mow around. It's rough mowing. We live on a farm, but haven't had cattle for several years and I'm extending my yard to include part of what used to be pasture. But I love getting out there to do it. - 5/2/2009   1:58:27 PM
  • KBEARS69
    77
    We all need Fresh Air. Not only is it great for our Health, The Suns great for our skin. Just be sure to wear some sun block though, too much sun is bad.

    My hubby & I are looking forward to our city's Rose Festival. All this month of May is filled with Parades, Carnivals, Etc... this Spring & Summer. - 5/2/2009   12:18:47 PM
  • 76
    Great way to burn calories and have fun in the sunny outdoors. - 5/2/2009   12:05:48 PM
  • 75
    I walk and walk and walk...outdoors! - 5/2/2009   9:44:25 AM
  • CATCHAGLO
    74
    I love yardwork and have already dug (by hand) my garden, flower beds and even started to plant flowers and vegies. Have mowed grass twice but I do use a riding mower as I have 2 acres to mow but I do a lot of weed wacking to trim up everything. Just carrying the weed wacker and walking around for 45 minutes helped me feel good. My next chore is to trim my bushes and trees. Think I rather do yard work than clean my house! Love the sun and fun outside! - 5/2/2009   8:52:35 AM
  • 73
    I love disc golf! - 4/21/2009   8:20:26 PM
  • 72
    I never really thought of washing the car, or in my case a van, as a valid cardio workout! Maybe I ought to incorporate that as a weekly event! - 4/20/2009   8:16:05 AM
  • 71
    Can't wait to get out in the yard - there is sooooo much I can do there!!!! Have a pedometer this year, so it will be interesting to track my steps!!! Supposed to be 60 this weekend in Michigan, so the garden gloves are ready and waiting!!!!! Then, when I'm not in the yard (or at work...bummer), I'll be on the golf course or in the pool!!!!! The next 42 pounds will be gone!!!!!!!! - 4/15/2009   10:04:33 AM
  • 70
    Think I'll wash my car more often...workout and have a shiny ride! - 4/15/2009   9:50:53 AM
  • 69
    There are so many fun things to do when the weather warms up! I love to hike and already got to go on the first hike of the year. It was great to be back in the wilderness!

    I bike all year long, but it's way better in spring and summer, and that's when my husband and I do our long pleasure rides. We're planning a new ride in the Cascade Mountains this coming weekend. It's on a old rail line that has been converted to a bike trail. Those are always nice, because they had to be made fairly level for the trains.

    I also enjoy rock climbing, and we got out of the gym and on real rock a couple weekends ago.

    This spring I'd also like to get out and play tennis with my sons and hubby, and I'm thinking about purchasing some roller blades. That should be fun!

    So much fun to be had and so little time...lol! - 4/15/2009   9:30:59 AM
  • 68
    I'm taking my 19 month old on walks and I'm planning on buying some Tennis Rackets, so that i can get my man out and active as well. - 4/14/2009   6:55:48 PM
  • 67
    I started playing tennis almost 5 years ago at the age of 25 and haven't looked back since. I even have an indoor membership to a tennis club here in Canada for the winter because I love it so much. Exercise is so much fun when it is a sport. I play 3-5 times per week and do yoga and strength training 2-3 times per week. It's Awesome! - 4/14/2009   3:31:35 PM
  • RNFK70
    66
    What fun to know that I am burning as many calories as I am mowing the lawn. I use a push mower and it takes me about an hour to hour 15 min. to cut the grass. Then I have to be adding calories burnet by doing weeding and everything else I do in the yard. That makes me want to cut the grass even more. Wouldn't hubby be happy :) - 4/14/2009   10:12:57 AM
  • 65
    I love to hike! Being outdoors is so energizing, especially after being cooped up inside for the winter months. I also enjoy washing my car myself, as well as vacuuming and cleaning out the inside. I do worry about the environment though. I'll have to look into more eco-friendly cleaning supplies. - 4/14/2009   9:48:50 AM
  • 64
    I love Gardening and it is indeed great exercise. Just waiting on a "drying out" so I can get into the garden.

    Sunny - 4/14/2009   9:21:33 AM
  • 63
    Hiking, tennis & basketball now that it's not raining so much! - 4/14/2009   12:14:12 AM
  • DBBE-DO
    62
    Spring is a great time to be outside in Texas, I have to hurry though, summer is right around the corner and then it's too hot for me! - 4/13/2009   11:29:24 PM
  • 61
    Just started my job working as a landscaper...hoping that speeds up my weight loss progress a little bit! - 4/13/2009   10:56:29 PM
  • 60
    Wow! It's nice to know my 2 and a half hour expedition, resulting in my being lost in the woods had some kind of benefit! - 4/13/2009   10:38:07 PM
  • NITEPROWLER
    59
    I think these are some great ideas. I am happy to know that I burned off so many calories raking the yard. My hands still hurt but I feel better:) - 4/13/2009   9:58:33 PM
  • 58
    I didn't know gardening and washing your car could burn so many calories. - 4/13/2009   2:06:02 PM
  • 57
    I actually mow our lawn instead of my hubby. Now that we have a small yard he likes to do it too so it is kinda like a race to see who gets to mow. It is a good sweat for me so I don't mind mowing anymore. - 4/13/2009   1:43:42 PM
  • 56
    42 degrees here in Wisconsin today. I can't wait to start training outdoors for my first triathalon. Some would say it's already warm enough, but not me it's not "nifty" until it's "sixty". :-) Hurry up Spring!! - 4/13/2009   12:59:55 PM
  • 55
    I had no idea hiking burned that many calories!!! Looks like when my BF wants to go hiking....I'll beat him out the door! - 4/13/2009   12:22:11 PM
  • 54
    I'm going on a hiking weekend with my sisters the end of this month - I can't wait! - 4/13/2009   8:37:23 AM
  • ANANDHRAJ
    53
    hi - 4/13/2009   4:55:02 AM
  • PSYCHOGREENGIRL
    52
    well, i certainly know i'll be out cleaning up the yard (tons of downed trees need to be butchered up and hauled away or burned, and the "flower bed" needs weeding again) or at the gym i got a membership for to go out and play racquetball or swim til i can't stand it anymore (which i doubt will happen--the not standing it, that is) - 4/12/2009   9:59:20 PM
  • 51
    I didn't know gardening could help you lose calories. - 4/12/2009   7:24:53 PM
  • 50
    Thats great to know,Thanks. Woohoo Yesterday I washed both my cars at home inside and out. - 4/12/2009   2:30:53 PM
  • ROBCURTROSS
    49
    Great post -- washing my own car saves a gallon of gas and it will be a lot cleaner, not only after I finish cleaning, but also over time as I keep the inside cleaner.

    I'm really lucky to live near lots of hiking opportunities here in the Ramapo Mountains. One odd ball trick has been great fun. I have a good back pack that puts the weight on my hips, no back strain, and I've been using it to clean up bottles, cans and other trash along the road sides and hiking trails.

    It occurred to me that I could put rocks in the pack equal in weight to the weight I've lost so far. Five weeks ago when I had lost 20 pounds, I found 20 pounds of rocks, some really pretty, and carted them around on a few hikes and also on my EFX machine. The pile has grown to 28 pounds this morning, and it really looks impressive. :)

    Best, Bob

    PS: feels impressive too. - 4/12/2009   12:20:05 PM
  • 48
    All great and fun ideas! :) - 4/12/2009   9:49:44 AM
  • 47
    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. - 4/12/2009   8:38:08 AM
  • 46
    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 :) - 4/12/2009   1:11:43 AM
  • 45
    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. - 4/12/2009   12:55:30 AM
  • 44
    We need LOTS of exercise. - 4/12/2009   12:43:46 AM
  • 43
    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! - 4/12/2009   12:30:40 AM
  • 42
    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. - 4/11/2009   10:03:15 PM
  • 41
    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!! - 4/11/2009   8:57:04 PM
  • BIBLECHICK
    40
    How fun! - 4/11/2009   7:35:10 PM
  • 39
    Thank you for the tips. Sometimes it is nice to read new suggestions for spring. :o) - 4/11/2009   5:44:00 PM
  • 38
    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 :-) - 4/11/2009   12:55:29 PM

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