Before I jump into the 37 fun alternative to the gym (I couldn’t believe number 37), let’s do a brief recap of what we have been studying. In this section of our Health Study, we have established these points:
- We were created us to move.
- Exercise was once a normal part of daily life.
- Sitting all day increases many health risks.
- Exercise has tons of benefits for the body.
Forget the Gym!
Why sign up for the gym or begin a boring exercise regime when we can get exercise naturally. Below are 37 ways to get moderate exercise without going to the gym. They are all sport oriented, but the next post in this series will explore other natural ways to get exercise (and how you can even get paid to do it).
Exercise for Fun!
As you go through this list, somethings will not appeal to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to do them all. You just need to pick one (or two) that you really love. Then, it will not be a chore, but a joy. For example, awhile back, my husband and I took up racquetball. We loved it. It is on this list — and wait until you see how many calories you can burn in one hour! Please note: different sites calculate calories differently. Most of my research came from Glamour.com and is based on the average person (male or female) at 180 pounds. There will be adjustments depending on age, weight, height, and gender. Just keep in mind these statistics are average. In addition, calories burned are calculated at one hour of moderate activity — and from least to greatest.
Another great benefit — many of these activities occur outdoors. This means you can get your daily dose of sunshine too. If you are not used to moving your body for an hour. Don’t think you need to start there. Start slow. 15 minutes is a good test. You can build your endurance over time.
Rather watch the video version? See it here.
- Frisbee – grab a couple of friends and head to the park or the beach. Almost no investment needed for this fun sport. You can burn 257 calories in one hour.
- Surfing – okay, this one takes a little guts or know how. I’ll bet you could pick up a used board on Craigslist. This is the perfect activity if you live near the beach. You can burn 257 calories in an hour, smiling the whole time.
- Sailing – live near a lake or ocean? Have a friend with a boat? You can burn 257 calories in an hour.
- Frisbee Golf – a little more intense than regular frisbee, but this one comes with an 18-hole course. You could easily blow a couple hours with this fun sport. With one hour you’ll burn 261 calories.
- Walking – absolutely no investment needed. I am sure you own a pair of shoes already. Put ’em on (or keep them off and do some grounding). In one hour of moderate walking, you could burn 283 calories.
- Walking with a 15 pound pack – add a 15 pound pack to your walk and you’ll increase the calories burned in one hour to 301. Yep. The kid counts.
- Dancing, Tango – this dance will keep you on your feet and get you laughing and moving. You’ll burn 319 calories in one hour.
- Horseback Riding – how much fun is that? You can burn calories riding a horse: 343 calories in an hour.
- Golf – the average golf game lasts four hours. That means in one game you could burn 1442 calories, or 361 calories in an hour — if you are toting your clubs along. These stats come from Golf Link. Get your Tiger on!
- Tennis – like a good game of swatting the ball over the net? A casual game of couples tennis can burn 429 calories in one hour.
- Kayaking – I had never considered that you could count kayaking as exercise. But why not? You are moving and working and burning 429 calories an hour.
- Baseball – grab a bat, glove, ball and a few friends and put together a baseball team — or join a league. You won’t even realize that you are burning 440 calories an hour.
- Softball – what can I say? You choose hardball or softball. It amounts to the same 440 calories an hour.
- Dancing, Salsa – if you are a dancer, you may understand why Salsa burns more calories than the Tango. Salsa off 472 calories an hour.
- Waterskiing – here is my favorite. Yes, you need a boat (or some really good friends nearby) if you are going to do this on a regular basis. But when you do, you can burn 504 calories an hour. If you could last that long.
- Basketball – here is a fun and easy way to get the blood pumping. Grab a ball and head down to the local park. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll also burn 514 calories in an hour.
- Hiking, Cross Country – all you need here is a pair of sturdy hiking boots and some light terrain. Hiking can burn 514 calories an hour.
- Downhill Skiing – if you love the snow, this is the perfect way to get your body moving. You’ll need some good equipment. But never overlook the Goodwill — especially off season when everything is cheaper. You’ll burn 514 calories in an hour.
- Snowboarding – it seems all these snow sports are burning about the same amount of calories. Be careful if you are not accustomed to the snow. You can get a sunburn before you know it. 514 calories an hour.
- Racquetball – I already mentioned this is a game my husband and I love. Don’t worry if you are a beginner. Just give it a try. I did. Take it slow though. Anytime you are starting something new, you need to give your body a chance to adjust. And you’d never see me making a move like that! 600 calories an hour.
- Soccer – I remember when my daughter started playing soccer. She lost a lot of baby fat and trimmed down in a couple of months. It is a great activity. See if there is a soccer club nearby. Or grab a couple of the neighborhood kids and head to the park. You could burn 600 calories an hour.
- Canoeing – another fun water sport. Apparently it is more taxing than kayaking. According to Glamour’s calculations, you can burn 600 calories an hour canoeing moderately.
- Swimming – the next few items exert the same amount of energy as canoeing. If you love to swim moderately, you can burn 600 calories an hour.
- Scuba Diving – this sounds like an awesome way to get some exercise while enjoying God’s amazing creation. But you have to be willing to breathe out of a tube. I suppose you could try snorkeling too — but it probably wouldn’t burn 600 calories an hour.
- Skating, Ice – here is another favorite. Gets the body moving and helps you work on your balancing skills. 600 calories an hour at a sustained moderate rate.
- Backpacking – if 600 calories an hour is a number you are passionate about then backpacking is for you! The heavier the pack, the more calories you’ll burn.
- Hiking Hills – if you like going up and down the mountains while hiking, you’ll increase the calories you burn to 652 calories an hour. This does not include a pack.
- Ultimate Frisbee – I’ve never tried ultimate frisbee — but it sounds intense. The average game last 1.5 hours, burning 686 calories per hour.
- Football – grab your pigskin and your friends and play some touch or flag football. You’ll have fun and expend 686 calories an hour.
- Bicycling – moderate paced bicycling will do a lot to tone your lower body — as well as melt your body fat and get your lymph pumping. And you’ll work off 686 calories an hour.
- Cross Country Skiing – another snow sport — but this one works you a little harder. It is not downhill the whole way. Sliding along the snow-covered hills for an hour will net you a loss of 686 calories.
- Volleyball – you don’t have to do this at the beach, but it’ll be more fun! And you’ll burn 686 calories an hour.
- Rappelling – if you are not afraid of heights, this is the ultimate way to have fun. Rappelling down the side of a rock cliff is a thrill that cannot be duplicated. Use safety equipment please. And always go with your hiking buddy. 686 calories an hour.
- Jumping Rope – here is another inexpensive option for great exercise. It may not be as fun as some of the others — but it will get that lymph moving. It is also a supercharged calorie burner at 857 calories an hour. I’m not sure if that is sustainable, however.
- Running – for those you of you with high endurance, running is a calorie burner for sure. 857 calories an hour at a moderate clip. Probably not the way to go for the beginner. This figure is based on running a 10-minute mile 6 times.
- Rock Climbing – what goes down, must first go up. Same rules apply for climbing up as for rappelling down. Safety and accountability. 943 calories an hour. don’t try this without your spouses approval.
- Skating, In line – I couldn’t believe Glamour’s report that inline skating burned 1029 calories an hour. I thought it was either a mistake or just off the charts. Turns out you’d have to skate at a sustained 15 mph to burn 1029 calories an hour. Not sure who is going to do that. But it is a fun figure. 
Well, there you have 37 fun alternatives to the gym. Calories burned are only one benefit of exercise. Read more here.
Looking for more energy?
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Reformed Health exists so you can take control of your own health and be all that God has designed you to be. The information shared on Reformed Health is the sole opinion of the author and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. None or our claims have been evaluated by the FDA or any other government organization. We are not medical doctors, nor do we have any medical doctors on staff. If you are having a health emergency, please call 911, contact your doctor, or visit a local emergency room. Always consult your doctor before engaging in any new exercise regime.
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