activities that burn the most calories
Sports / Orthopedic

Summer Activities That Burn the Most Calories

Jul 19 2023

Summer months bring sunshine, barbeques with family and friends and perfect weather for your favorite things to do outside. Some of these also double as high-calorie burning workouts. Find out more about the summer activities that burn the most calories so you can make the most of your time outside this summer.

What are some summer activities that burn the most calories?

Yard work

Burns up to 440 calories per hour

Light gardening burns about 330 calories per hour. Heavier yard work, such as chopping wood and landscaping, can burn up 440 calories. The bonus of doing yard work is that you’re not only exercising, but you’re also being productive and creating something beautiful.

Skip the lawn service this summer and do it yourself for satisfying weekly workouts that do double duty.


Burns about 370 calories per hour

Hiking in the summertime lets you take advantage of shaded, wooded paths in the heat. Plus, getting outdoors and into nature releases stress and boosts your mood.

Enjoy the wildlife, fresh air, sunshine and full green foliage of the season. Hiking also takes your mind off the fact that you’re exercising. Thus, you’ll likely stay out longer and burn more calories.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Burns about 444 calories per hour

This summertime water activity engages your core for a calorie-burning, muscle-building workout. Stand-up paddleboarding requires balance. That’s why it’s so good for your abdominal and back muscles. If you’re new to paddleboarding, follow these tips to stay upright and enjoy the experience:

  • Bend your knees slightly to reduce fatigue.
  • Keep your back upright instead of leaning forward.
  • Move your hips to shift your weight instead of your feet.
  • Keep your feet parallel to each other and hip width apart.
  • Keep your eyes fixed on the horizon and avoid looking at your feet.


Burns about 510 calories per hour

If you have access to a pool or body of water, swimming burns calories and is a great way to increase your heart rate. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a low-impact workout that improves muscle strength, blood flow, lung and heart capacity, and it’s easy on your joints. You can increase your caloric burn when swimming by doing laps or water aerobics.

Even slow freestyle laps across the pool burn lots of calories. Instead of the high impact of running, swimming lets you get a full-body workout as you glide through the water. The resistance of the water makes you work harder, strengthening your muscles, lungs and heart all at once. Swim outdoors in the summertime for fresh air and sunshine, either in a pool, at a beach or at a lake.


Burns 288 to 594 calories in 30 minutes

Whether you like to bike outdoors on the road or your favorite trail – or if you prefer to spin indoors on a stationary bike – biking is a great low-impact cardio exercise. If you’re looking to boost the intensity on your next bike ride, try biking uphill if you’re outdoors or add resistance if you’re cycling indoors.

You can reduce your fatigue by practicing proper form:

  • Bend your elbows.
  • Relax your shoulders and neck.
  • Keep your knees over the balls of your feet instead of pointed out to the side.

Walking or Running

Burns 120 to 480 calories in 30 minutes

Walking is one of the easiest ways you can burn calories at home. You can walk around your neighborhood or in your backyard – it can be a very convenient form of exercise. If you’re just starting a new exercise routine, walking intervals are a great place to start!

Running is one of the best cardio workouts for burning calories, increasing your endurance and improving flexibility. For an added challenge, try walking and running on the beach on your next vacation – you’ll increase calories burned while taking in the beautiful ocean views.

Kayaking or Canoeing

Burns 286 to 319 calories per hour

Kayaking not only uses your arms and shoulders but also engages your core, back and chest. Canoeing is another upper body workout that primarily engages your upper back, shoulder and arm muscles when you’re paddling. By engaging these muscle groups, kayaking and canoeing help burn calories, which you can do on your favorite lake or body of water.

Jumping Rope

Burns 495 calories in 30 minutes

Jumping rope may sound like a blast from the playground past, but it burns more calories than you may expect. It’s an effective way to increase your heart rate and burn calories while building lower leg strength. If it’s been a while since you last jumped rope, it’s OK to go slow to start with short 20- to 30-second bursts. You can work on increasing speed and time to burn calories the more you jump.

Rock Climbing

Burns about 773 calories per hour

Shred calories and get outside your comfort zone with rock climbing this summer. This activity tests your balance and courage while strengthening your upper body. You’ll also engage the rest of your body, from your back and abs to your legs and hands.


Burns about 800 calories per hour

This warm-weather favorite gets the prize for the most calories burned. You’ll get a workout similar to running without the impact on your joints and muscles. Rollerblading engages your core as you work to stay balanced. It also targets your arms, legs, lungs and heart.

Enjoy the breeze it naturally creates in the summer air and don’t worry if you’re wobbly at first. Even learning how to rollerblade gives you an effective workout. The more you practice, the more fun you’ll have.

How can I burn more calories in summer?

Keep moving! The best way to burn calories in the summer – or throughout the year – is to move your body. Whether you opt for a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session, strength training or simply going for a walk, moving your body is key. The amount of time and how hard you work will determine how many calories you burn – no matter which fun summer activity you enjoy.

The food you eat also fuels your activities. After a meal, your body starts breaking down food into its basic components (protein, carbohydrates and fats). A healthy diet can help fuel your body for your favorite summer activities.

Can I lose weight in the summer?

Summer can be a great time of year to focus on weight loss. Taking advantage of outdoor activities in the warm weather and drinking more water to stay hydrated are just a few ways the summer months indirectly support weight loss efforts. In addition to your favorite outdoor summer exercises, here are a few tips to help you achieve weight loss goals:

  • Drink water instead of sweetened summer beverages.
  • Eat healthy snacks.
  • Fill your plate with fruits and veggies.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Start walking! The more you walk, the more you burn.

You can try any variety of these calorie-burning exercises this summer, or your health care provider can also suggest the best type of exercise or nutrition to support weight loss for your current health and fitness level.

Learn more about the sports medicine services offered at Bon Secours.

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