People who want to lose weight and remain in good physical health must aim to burn more calories than they consume each day.
Thankfully, physical activity doesn’t need to be boring! If you dread the thought of running on a treadmill or pumping weights at the gym, you might benefit from embracing a fun sporting activity that will motivate you to get up and moving.
Of course, the number of calories you burn during an activity will be determined by the workout you choose, your current weight and your intensity level.
If, however, you are looking for a fun pastime that will burn a considerable number of calories, here is a rundown of the ten best activities for a healthy body.
- Outdoor or Indoor Cycling
Are you dreaming of a slim, toned body come summer? Cycling could help you to achieve your sought-after shape while improving your physical health.
The non-impact sporting activity is ideal for all ages and fitness levels and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Not only is it a fun way to travel from A to B, but it can also help you to maintain a healthy weight throughout the years.
According to Berkeley Wellness, cycling at a moderate speed can reportedly burn between 400 to 500 calories per hour, while vigorous cycling can help you to burn approximately 800 calories per hour.
There is no better reason to grab your bicycle and head out into the great outdoors alone or with your family or friends for a fun bike ride.
Alternatively, you could embrace indoor cycling, which can get your heart pumping and your muscles moving. However, while it is a safer alternative, cycling on different terrains outdoors could potentially improve both your balance and coordination.
Golf cannot only improve your social life, but it can also transform your physical health.
A recent study found walking with a bag across a nine-hole golf course could help a player to shed 721 calories. While walking with a caddie could help golfers to burn 621 calories for nine holes.
The same study also discovered that swinging a golf club up to 100 times, whether it be small strokes with a high moi putter or full swings with a pitching wedge, will require a considerable amount of energy.
If burning calories wasn’t enough to convince you to hit the green, you might be surprised to learn that golf can increase a player’s life expectancy. That’s because it can reportedly treat more than 40 major chronic diseases that can impact your quality of life and lifespan, including:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
Plus, as the sport can be played by both young and old, it’s the perfect excuse to check into a beautiful golf hotel with the whole clan for a fun, healthy day out on the green.
Swimming is one of the best sporting activities you can incorporate into your routine because it can work every part of your body, as well as your cardiovascular system.
In fact, it is believed an hour of swimming can burn almost as many calories as running, and the exercise will have less of an impact on your bones and joints. For this reason, it is an ideal exercise for people living with a form of arthritis or musculoskeletal problems.
For example, a 160-pound person can burn an average of 423 calories running but can burn up to 715 calories when swimming at a vigorous pace.
What’s more, swimming can:
- Tone muscle
- Build endurance
- Increase muscular strength
- Lower blood pressure
- Control your blood sugar levels
Many people can, however, underestimate the benefits of swimming, as they often will not feel as hot or uncomfortable when performing this healthy exercise in comparison to running or swimming.
Yet, don’t be fooled, as swimming will be working your body hard when in the water, as the H2O will apply more uniformly-distributed, external pressure onto your limbs. So, just because the gentle exercise didn’t feel like a big workout, that doesn’t mean it will not positively impact your health.
According to a study recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, tennis can add approximately 9.7 years onto your lifespan, which is in comparison to 6.2 years when playing badminton and 5 years when playing soccer.
There is also a good reason why professional tennis players, such as Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, and Caroline Wozniacki, manage to maintain a slim, athletic frame!
Not only can tennis increase their longevity, but it can also do wonders for their health, as a 150lb person will burn an average of 414 calories in an hour of singles tennis, while you can roughly burn 288 calories for an hourly game of doubles.
5. Downhill Skiing
Few experiences are more exhilarating than hitting the slopes, feeling the bracing air against your cheeks and the speed of the snow underneath your skis. While it might feel like a fun pastime, downhill skiing can also be a great exercise.
According to Harvard Medical School, a person who is 185 pounds could expect to burn up to 266 calories for 30 minutes of downhill skiing. You also could burn even more calories by walking back up the slope instead of opting for a ride in a ski lift.
However, even if you do take a break on a ski lift, the sporting activity will still serve as a form of interval training. After pushing yourself down the slopes for between 20 seconds to 15 minutes, you will be able to relax your body before tackling the hill once again. This form of on-off training could ultimately help you to burn more calories and improve your fitness levels.
6. Martial Arts Fitness Training
Do you want to improve your strength, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness? Martial arts might be the sport you have been looking for to boost your physical confidence and improve your overall health.
There are also a variety of martial arts styles you can choose from to suit your needs and workout requirements. For example, some training options focus on methodical, slower movements, while there are others that require fast, explosive jumps, kicks and punches, and are slightly more aggressive in nature.
For example, Thai Chi focuses on mind-body awareness and can reportedly help a person to burn 168 calories per hour. While Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a more aggressive form of martial arts training, as you will need to kick, punch, grapple, and hand-strike to beat your opponent, and it can help a 150-pound person to shed up to 680 calories per hour.
If, however, you’re looking for a slightly more traditional martial art, karate is a must-do. Not only will you receive self-defense training to improve your safety and security, but it will improve your cardiovascular fitness, personal discipline, and focus. Plus, if you weight 150 pounds, you could burn 700 calories per hour.
A recent review has discovered that, in comparison to inactive people, recreational soccer players often enjoy:
- A better resting heart rate
- Less fat mass
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
The sport can be an ideal way to keep your body both fit and limber, as it will require you to walk, jog backward and side to side, sprint, and kick. Plus, the pitch’s large dimensions will ensure you cover much ground during a recreational or competitive game.
It’s believed one minute of kicking a soccer ball can burn an average of 7 calories. Plus, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. For example, a 130-pound person might burn 5.9 calories each minute when casually kicking a ball, but a person who weighs 155 pounds will burn 9.3 calories. It’s, therefore, an ideal sporting activity for those who want to burn a considerable number of calories to lose weight and develop an athletic frame.
Many celebrities have turned to boxing in a bid to lose weight and improve their overall health, such as Gigi Hadid, Ashley Graham, Ellie Goulding, and Adriana Lima. In fact, many world-famous models swear by the fat-burning exercise, as it can help a person to develop a lean, strong physique that can boost their physical confidence.
Not only will it improve your strength, but it is also an effective cardiovascular workout that will help you to shed weight, tone muscle and improve your balance, coordination, and agility.
If all the above wasn’t enough, you will also burn a considerable number of calories, which is on par with other forms of cardiovascular activity, such as running or cycling. For example, a half hour of punching will result in you burning away between 200 to 400 calories if you weigh 140 pounds. While 30 minutes of sparring with another boxer could help you to blast 300 calories.
Never picked up a basketball? Well, you will want to do precisely that when you read all the ways the sport can improve your health. Whether playing competitively or casually, it can be an excellent exercise for working your entire body.
All the running, jumping and lateral movements can provide your body with an intense aerobic workout. In fact, a 165-pound player can burn approximately 600 calories when playing an hour of basketball, while a 250-pound player can burn a whopping 900 calories.
Another significant benefit of basketball is that it can build endurance to maintain a healthy heart, which can lower your risk of heart disease or a stroke. Plus, the physically demanding sport involves weight bearing, which can help to improve your bone strength.
Few sports can test your range of movement quite like squash. It is also a game that requires a great deal of focus, as you will need to monitor the squash ball and aim to improve your reaction times.
In addition to improving your mental sharpness and movement, the challenging sport can burn up to 517 calories in as little as 30 minutes, as you will be sprinting around the indoor squash court, back and forth, working almost every muscle in your body.
Squash can also:
- Boost your flexibility and speed
- Improve your hand-eye coordination
- Increase your mental strength and concentration
- Develop your muscular strength and endurance
However, your heart will need to be in good shape before you play a game of squash, but it can also significantly improve your cardiac health over time. For this reason, you would be smart to consult a doctor before you tackle the game for yourself.
How Often Should You Exercise?
There is no correct exercise formula to follow each week, as the right level might be different for you, your best friend or neighbor.
How often you exercise will also come down to your current activity level. For example, if you seldom workout, you will more than likely notice a big difference to your health after exercising one day a week.
Once you build your stamina and confidence, one day will not be enough to challenge your body and secure your progress. In the end, you might be ready and willing to exercise five days a week for thirty minutes, which will be enough to help you maintain good overall health.
However, ensure you give your body enough time to rest and recover from physical activity; otherwise, you could develop a serious injury that will force you to spend more time on the couch than on a track, pitch, or court.
If the gym doesn’t fill you with joy during each visit, don’t rule out exercise altogether. Cancel your membership and embark on one or many of the above sporting activities, whether it be soccer, golf or swimming.
Each fun sporting activity could help you to burn calories, improve your cardiovascular health and strength. Plus, it can change your mindset towards exercise, as you will realize it doesn’t need to be dull and boring.
By improving your overall health, you will not only feel happier, but it is likely you will feel more confident in your own skin.