Sports are generally designed to be leisure activities, but you can turn your favorite outdoor sports and recreational activities into exercise. As a result, you can use these sports and activities to improve your fitness level, and cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are the top five recreational activities, rated by calories burned and aerobic benefits:
- Boxing is an intense workout requiring high-paced coordination and peak reaction skills. It demands constant motion and quick bursts of energy as you spar with a partner or participate in a match. Depending on your physical condition and weight, you may burn between 540 and 800 calories per hour.
- Swimming is known for providing a low-impact total body workout, but it is also one of the top outdoor sports. You can vary your swimming activity from freestyle swimming to aqua aerobics in any pool or local lake. One hour of swimming burns about 550 to 700 calories and improves endurance, strength, and coordination.
- Rock Climbing is an excellent way to burn over 500+ calories in one hour. Rock climbing has the added bonus of employing many muscle groups that most people do not use on a daily basis, thus engaging the entire body in a challenging movement. The sport also improves muscular dexterity and involves intense problem-solving skills.
- Backpacking. The flexibility of strapping on a pack and hitting the trail makes backpacking one of the five best outdoor sports and recreational activities for exercise. Backpacking and hiking trips can range from short day hikes to multiday expeditions on simple trails to technical climbs. Backpacking for one hour can burn about 600 to 700 calories per hour while building lower-body strength and stamina. The mental benefits are also notable as outdoor hiking has been linked to lower mental stress.
- Cross-Country Skiing. Winter can be a difficult time to stay active. Cross-country skiing, however, is a winter outdoor sport and recreational activity that combines skiing and hiking. The natural motion used in cross-country skiing provides an all-around aerobic workout. Each motion incorporates the shoulders, back, chest, core and legs, resulting in the ability to burn about 600 to 900 calories per hour.
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