Activities that burn calories—but don’t feel like it

Remember those teenage days of eating whatever you wanted and never gaining a pound? While a slower metabolism is inevitable with age and certainly accounts for a good portion of adult weight gain, there’s also a significant change in activity level to blame. The adult world often means sedentary jobs and less of those youthful activities that felt more like play than a workout.

If you’re in a rut at the gym, try some of these calorie-torching activities that are so much fun, you’ll hardly notice you’re exercising.

how to burn calories

Get out on the water.

Stand-up paddle boarding gives you a great view on the water and demands focus to ensure you don’t lose your balance. The result? You likely won’t notice the 250-350 calories you’ve burned after 30 minutes, depending on the intensity. Instead of taking a leisurely float, try doing a loop around the lake or pier for speed. You’ll get some great cardio activity, as well as toning from engaging your core and quads for balance.

Tag! You’re it.

You’re juggling a busy schedule between work and family, and the treadmill can be mind-numbingly boring. The solution? Get those little ones in on the fun and head outdoors for a family game of tag. Depending on how fast those little rugrats have you running, you’ll burn somewhere around 150 calories after a half-hour—and the added bonus of tiring them out in the process.

Play some games.

Whether it’s a pick-up game of basketball or soccer with some pals or a game of catch, channeling your inner kid burns 90-200 calories after just a half hour, depending on the intensity. It sure beats watching the calorie-counter on that elliptical.

Hit the dance floor.

Whether it’s a fitness class like Zumba, a crowded nightclub (skip the sugary drinks) or a dance party in the family room, moving to the music will burn about 160 calories every half-hour. Keep the music loud and the pace quick for body benefits you won’t even realize you’re getting (until you feel those sore legs the next day!).

Do your chores.

Have you been putting off weeding the garden? How about mowing the lawn or vacuuming? While these chores are certainly less fun than the options above, they are a great way to multi-task: you’ll burn between 100-200 calories every 30 minutes, and you’ll have a spic-and-span space. Sounds like a win-win.

These are just a few ideas to jump-start your fitness routine and help you achieve your weight-loss goals. From swimming and bike riding to skiing and more, there are plenty of engaging activities that will get your heart rate up if your gym routine is feeling humdrum.