Losing Weight While Having Fun

Losing weight can be a drag, not to mention difficult.  Dieting can easily get the better of you and get you down in the dumps.  Weight loss involves new foods that are not quite as tasty as you are used to, and new exercise regiments that you have to adjust to.  It’s easy to fall of the weight loss wagon and to feel like a failure.  There is a better way to lose that unwanted weight.

Dieting and weight loss do not have to be torture.  Your weight loss plan does not have to mean denial, misery and total discipline.  Weight loss and exercise can be, and should be fun.  The treadmill is not the only place where calories are burned.

In fact, you may already be burning calories in unknown ways right now.  Think about your favourite recreational pastimes and activities.  Some of them are workouts in and of themselves.

Consider the activities listed below and find a better and more enjoyable way to burn off those calories.

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Backyard Games

Lawn bowling (211 calories per hour) and bocce ball are great ways to burn some calories.  Both games involve simple movements and not a lot of effort.  You don’t have to be especially athletic or in shape.  The game involves a lot of walking and simple bending.  Because these games are quite addictive, you won’t even notice the amount of walking and bending that you are doing!

Croquet (176 calories per hour) is a lawn sport that involves concentration and the right touch.  Players hit their ball with mallets and try to move their ball through wickets.  Anyone can play this game.  You don’t have to be strong or especially skilled.  You will be quickly drawn into this game as well.

Have you ever played cornhole (180 calories per hour) before?  This is a great backyard game that you can play with everybody.  It involves a couple of bean bags and two boards placed at opposite ends of your yard.  The goal is to throw the beanbags into the board’s hole.  If you have company over and are grilling, challenge them to a game after dinner.

No one around?  No problem.  Get a hacky sack (281 calories per hour) and try to keep the small crocheted bag off the ground by using your feet.  You will break a sweat in no time, and you will want to keep trying to beat your personal best.

Racket Games

Table tennis (281 calories per hour) is a great paddle sport that you can play at any time of the year.  Table tennis tables don’t take up a lot of room and fold up nicely for storage when you are done playing.  You can play with two or four people, and the games can get quite competitive.  A good game of tennis table will burn off some serious calories.

Squash (840 calories per hour) is a very exciting game played on an indoor court.  Once you have learned the basics and found a good playing partner, you are well on your way to getting toned and in shape.  The goal is to hit a hollow rubber ball across the court and against the wall.  Your opponent then returns the ball against the wall and to you.  This can be an intense game, but the loss of calories will be intense as well.

Water Activities

A leisurely paddle down a river or lake in a canoe is great exercise.  Enjoy the beauty of nature as you propel yourself in a canoe.  Canoeing (between 211 and 490 calories per hour) is great for any age and ability, and is one of those pastimes that you forget about the weight loss benefits.

If canoeing is not quite challenging enough for you, take out a kayak.  Kayaking (350 calories per hour) can be a little harder to master, but is more versatile.  You can take your kayak through a peaceful lake, or plunge down wild rapids.  Either way, kayaking is a great workout and a great pastime to include in your weight loss plan.

If speed is your thing, strap on a pair of water skis or a wakeboard and get pulled by a boat.  After one run, you will feel the burn in your arms, stomach and legs.  Water skiing (404 calories per hour) also employs your stabilizer muscles which will multiply the burning of calories.  Water skiing and wakeboarding varies in degree of difficulty and has a plethora of ascending challenges from jumping the wake to dropping a ski.  You may even get to the point of barefoot skiing.

The best water activity though, is swimming (418 calories per hour).  Whether you take a leisurely swim or challenge someone to a swimming race, swimming makes for a great workout because it is employing so many of your muscles.

Team Games

You don’t have to be in a league or on an official team to play team sports.  Get some buddies together and play a game of backyard touch football (594 calories per hour).  Throw a football or baseball back and forth.  Head down to the beach and play some beach volleyball.  Not only is beach volleyball a great workout, but it is very competitive and challenging.

Your city or town most likely has many different leagues available for all different ages and levels.  Decide what your level of play is (i.e. recreation, intermediate, competitive) and join a team.  You can play on a co-ed team or on a single gender team.  Popular league sports are usually soccer (476 calories per hour), baseball and hockey, but you may be able to find less common team sports such as underwater hockey, or dodge ball.

Activities for One

How are you gardens looking?  Crawling around in your flower beds while you are gardening (316 calories per hour) can be quite a solid workout.  Consider expanding or sprucing up your outdoor space this summer.

Horseback riding (between 246 and 457 calories per hour) is one of those great pastimes that you would tend to include as part of your daily exercising.  After all, you’re just perched on top of a horse going along for the ride.  You do get a workout too – you are using muscles and balance to stay on top of the horse whether you are walking, trotting, or galloping along.  Of course grooming the horse is another easy way to shed some pounds.

Get Out There!

Exercise can be exciting!  Get off of that boring treadmill, and invest yourself in the pastimes that you enjoy.  Push yourself and be daring.  Get your heart pumping and have fun at the same time.

Author’s Note:  The stats mentioned above are for a 155 pound person.  If you weigh more, you’ll burn more.  If you weight less, you’ll burn less.

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