Every summer, regimented exercise programs take a backseat to lawn maintenance, day-long barbecuing and outdoor fun. But here's the good news: the heat of summer naturally boosts the metabolism, and the longer days enable you to fit in more activity. So there's a chance you'll burn even more calories simply having fun than you would in the gym.
Consider that a 150-pound person's typical one-hour workout burns between 400 and 700 calories. That's tough to replace, but if you start the day with an hour of yard work or leisure walking, you will burn about 200 calories. Washing your car or painting a fence, instead, burns approximately 300 calories.
Of course, these activities are much more commonly done during the summer months.
If you hike or hit the lake after that, you'll likely burn 350 calories per hour. When you consider that most will spend multiple hours in the mountains or on the water, it's obvious those numbers can add up fast. Rent a paddle board and you can burn 50 calories in just 10 minutes! Summer games, like bocce and croquet, are perfect for warm evenings and burn about 175 calories per hour, while standing to barbecue burns nearly the same. Even a short 15-minute bike ride can easily burn 100 calories. That's a massive boost compared to the roughly 60 calories burned while playing video games or watching TV with food in the oven, which are common post-workout activities.
The real key is avoiding summer's frozen treats and processed meats. Here are some quick tips to help out:
. Make homemade slush drinks using real fruit and always avoid the convenience store kind.
. Visit pick-your-own-fruit stands to reap numerous rewards: it's fun, educational for kids, provides exercise, and results in heaping buckets of delicious, affordable fruit.
. Substitute regular hot dogs with veggie or organic franks and make your own burger patties with extra-lean beef, instead of eating the fatty, pre-frozen kind.
Summer fun isn't always enough to replace your regular workouts, but if you stay active and hit the gym when you can, it can certainly pick up some slack until September.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer and owner of Karp Personal Training. See www.karpfitness.com.
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