So far I've been primarily touting the benefits of strength training. It's not that I'm anti cardio, I just think strength training is the most efficient way to make long term changes to your body. However, this is Chicago - and is the tradition after what seems like 9 months of winter, it's time to get out and maximize the summer fun. Tired of the old running routine? Looking for some new fun ways to burn calories? Here are some activities that can help you get stay fit this summer:
Walking: 200 calories per hour
Walk to your urban destination and get a low intensity workout. Daytime trips through the Art Museum or Lincoln Park Zoo are great ways to stay on your feet and feel the burn.
Cycling: 400 calories per hour
Chicago currently has 117 miles of on-street bike lanes, more than 30 miles of marked shared lanes, many miles of off-street paths including the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail. If you want to get out of the traffic there are over 100 miles of paved bicycle trails and over 200 miles of multi-use trails in the Cook County Forest Preserve. Just remember to always wear a helmet and follow traffic laws.
Rollerblading: 600-800 calories per hour
Rollerblading is an efficient calorie burning activity, and there are many great places in Chicago to rollerblade. For example, head with your skates down to Grant Park to enjoy the “front yard of Chicago”. If you own a pair of old-fashioned four wheel skates, they will work too. According to PrettyTough.com, doing it the roller derby way can also help you burn up to 1200 calories in a two-hour session. In general, skating uses almost all of your muscle groups, and that’s part of what makes it work. So, grab your skates and sunglasses and hit the park!
Beach Volleyball: 550 calories per hour
Got game? Doesn’t really matter, just running around in the sand offers greater resistance to the muscles in your feet and legs, therefore allowing for you to burn more calories while toning muscles. Grab some friends and hit the beach.
Tennis: 500 calories per hour
Chicago is literally brimming with tennis courts - over 75 different court locations in the park district. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro or a noob, as long as you keep moving. Chasing the ball for an hour will burn almost 500 calories.
Swimming: 425 calories per hour
If you dare to brave the cold asian carp infested waters of Lake Michigan, swimming is a remarkably efficient calorie burning exercise. Not only will it burn fat and calories at a fast pace, but it builds and tones muscles at the same time. Swimming has been proven to improve the functionality of one’s heart and lungs, and is an excellent full-body exercise. If Lake Michigan is too cold for you in the summer, hit the pool.
Kayaking: 350 calories per hour
Paddling through the water is a different way to get a great upper body workout. While enjoying the calming effect of the water you may gain a new perspective on things.... or the at least the skyline.
Soccer: 700 calories per hour
And my personal favorite burns over 1000 calories per regulation 90 min match. A typical outdoor soccer game will include 9 miles of running, but even a pickup game in the park will run up more miles than you’d expect.
Get out there and don’t forget the sunblock!
* All figures above reflect approximate calorie burn based on a person weighing 150 pounds.