Do you avoid exercise because the standard fitness routines—jogging, walking, hitting the gym—are boring? Now is the perfect time of year to try new, adventurous activities to get your blood flowing and your body in shape. The following activities are fun, challenging, and provide you with a great workout at the same time. Try something new this summer, and get or stay fit while doing it! Please note, however, that many of these activities require special equipment, experience, or guides.
Kayaking is an adventure and good exercise in any type of water, whether it be a calm bay or whitewater. Because you sit upright with your legs outstretched, it’s important to have loose hamstrings and strong abdominal muscles. Regular kayaking will work both of these muscles groups, in addition to the muscles in the arms, shoulders, neck, and back. In particular, kayaking will exercise the Rotator Cuff in the shoulder, the biceps, triceps, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and the obliques.
According to Best River Adventures an hour of moderate kayaking will burn roughly 300 calories for a roughly 130 pound person; 350 calories for a 155 pound person; and 430 calories for a 190 pound person. More strenuous kayaking will burn more calories.
*Canoeing is an easier, less strenuous option.
Snorkeling is a fun, recreational activity that allows you to see amazing underwater life. Though often thought of as more of a leisure sport, snorkeling nonetheless burns between 295 and 430 calories per hour depending on body size. That puts snorkeling right up there with kayaking, downhill skiing, skateboarding, and low-impact aerobics! Snorkeling uses several muscle groups, including the abdominal muscles, the glutes, arms, legs, and hips.
*Once you learn to snorkel, consider scuba diving, which burns between 400 and 600 calories per hour depending on body size.
Rock climbing has been touted as one of the best all-around workouts because it works nearly every muscle group, and it is a dynamic muscle exercise, which means your muscles are flexed and stretched for long periods of time. This causes your heart to work harder, and your respiration rate to increase. Rock climbing, therefore, is truly an aerobic activity. According to Nutri Strategy Calorie Counter, rock climbing burns an awesome 649-949 calories per hour when ascending, and between 472 and 690 calories per hour when rapelling.
Rock climbing not only increases strength and endurance, it exercises the mind. In order to successfully climb a rock, you must choose a path and navigate tricky terrain. This develops the decision-making, visualization, and concentration areas of the brain.
If exploring rugged and awe-inspiring terrain is your thing, try hopping on a mountain bike to do so. Mountain biking requires balance, endurance, concentration, and confidence, and will likewise help you develop these attributes. Though mountain biking primarily works your leg muscles, your arms, shoulders, abdominals, and glutes, are also used. Depending on terrain, mountain biking can burn 600 calories or more per hour for a 150 pound person.
* If navigating the back woods isn’t for you, try a bicycle tour. Bicycle tours are now offered all over the United States and abroad.
Take the day hike to a new level, and make it an overnight trip. Backpacking provides many opportunities to see spectacular scenery that’s not accessible any other way. It’s not only fun and adventurous, it’s a great workout, too. On average, backpacking burns around 500 calories for a 150 pound person, so if your trip takes 5 hours, you’ve burned 2,500 calories! The primary muscles used in backpacking are the legs, hips, and glutes. You will also need strong back and stomach muscles to carry the weight of your pack.
Backpacking will require outdoor survivor skills. If you lack basic first aid, navigational, plant identification, and other survivor knowledge, be sure to hire a guide, or take a survival course.
For the ultimate adventure, head to Dude Ranch for a vacation filled with genuine rancher experiences. Enjoy pack trips, cattle drives and round-ups, roping, horseback riding, fly fishing, and much more. Working and guest dude ranches exist all over the United States and Canada, so pick a location you’re interested in and have fun and get fit while learning what it takes to be a “cowboy.”