37 Fun Alternatives to Exercising at the Gym + Calories Burned per hour

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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:

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.

  1. 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.beach-671180_1280
  2. 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.surfing-1208255_1280
  3. Sailing – live near a lake or ocean? Have a friend with a boat? You can burn 257 calories in an hour.catamaran-1148350_1280
  4. 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.disc-golf-970865_1280
  5. 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.weekend-974401_1280
  6. 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.
  7. dad-1125002_1280Dancing, Tango – this dance will keep you on your feet and get you laughing and moving. You’ll burn 319 calories in one hour.dance-641672_1280
  8. Horseback Riding – how much fun is that? You can burn calories riding a horse: 343 calories in an hour.horses-816793_1280
  9. 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!tiger-woods-79694_1280
  10. 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.anna-lena-groenefeld-287035_1280
  11. 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.kayak-282329_1280
  12. 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.baseball-player-582366_1280
  13. Softball – what can I say? You choose hardball or softball. It amounts to the same 440 calories an hour. softball-843844_1280
  14. Dancing, Salsa – if you are a dancer, you may understand why Salsa burns more calories than the Tango. Salsa off 472 calories an hour.dance-148528_1280
  15. 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.water-skiing-23800_1280
  16. 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. basketball-316750_1280
  17. 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. wanderer-455338_1280
  18. 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.ski-run-234068_1280
  19. 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. snowboarder-690779_1280
  20. 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.racquetball-89823_1280
  21. 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. football-224145_1280
  22. 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.men-282255_1280
  23. 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. swimming-78112_1280
  24. 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. diver-83511_1280
  25. 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.skates-1224050_1280
  26. 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. backpacker-509884_1280
  27. 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. hiking-922985_1280
  28. Ultimate Frisbee – I’ve never tried ultimate frisbee — but it sounds intense. The average game last 1.5 hours, burning 686 calories per hour.frisbee-310367_1280
  29. Football – grab your pigskin and your friends and play some touch or flag football. You’ll have fun and expend 686 calories an hour. football-1149952_1280
  30. 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. cycling-655565_1280
  31. 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 caloriesski-tour-635974_1280
  32. 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.beach-volleyball-843195_1280
  33. 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. waterfall-rappelling-83162_1280
  34. 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.jumping-rope-79615_1280
  35. 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. runner-888016_1280
  36. 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. rock-climbing-924842_1280
  37. 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. [1]inline-skating-226805_1280


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?

If you want to improve your health, have more energy, and sleep better —  you need to know the biblical principles of wellness. Exercise is only one part. Join thousands who have found healing God’s Way. It’s FREE. God knows. God cares. And God heals — His way. When you join, we will send you a  guide to the Biblical Principles of Wellness,  a PDF coloring book for stress relief, and updates on upcoming online courses — all for FREE. Join now, your body will thank you.

Next: 100 Jobs That Pay You to Get Exercise in Your Career or Job

Return to: Biblical Health Study

This post has been shared on the SimpleLifeMom blog hop.



[1]  lenihan.org/sk8_calories.htm


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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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.


© 2017 Mischelle Sandowich
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4 thoughts on “37 Fun Alternatives to Exercising at the Gym + Calories Burned per hour

  1. Love the idea of getting through activities outside of the gym! I want to do regular kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding with my family this summer. It’s being offered at a local garden near us – I can’t wait!

  2. wow so many great ideas! thanks for sharing these with the calorie burn. I always find it interesting to see! I’ve been swimming a lot and I am dying to go kayaking!

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