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4 Sports That Can Burn Serious Calories

Tennis

What it works: Legs, butt, shoulders, back, arms, and core
Why it’s cool: You get your dose of vitamin D and spend time with a friend while getting a good workout. Remember, setting the pace of your court workout high is what’s going to really rev your calorie burn. In other words, casually lobbing it back and forth with your partner isn’t going to do much, but an intense singles or doubles game definitely will.

Hiking

What it works: Legs, butt, and core
Why it’s cool: Perfect for all fitness levels, hiking is a great date idea or family-friendly activity. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak likes to send his clients in Los Angeles to hike through the various canyons (Runyon is a favorite for many stars), and he says tackling a route with a big elevation change will be easy on the joints while making your muscles work hard. To gauge whether you’re at a good calorie-burning pace, Letchford suggests using a heart rate monitor or trying the talk test. “If you can talk intermittently and get in a few words between each breath, you’re at a good pace,” she says. “If you can easily get out sentences, you’re ready to pick up the pace; if you can barely squeak out a few words, you may want to pull back.”

Golf

What it works: Shoulders, back, core, and legs
Why it’s cool: Golf works a lot of the main muscles in your body, and it provides a bonus workout for your brain (hey, it’s not easy getting those shots in—and explains why it’s always so darn quiet). You’re obviously going to burn more if you opt to walk the course rather than ride in a golf cart, says Adam Rosante, certified trainer and author of The 30-Second Body. Not only will your legs cover quite the distance (an average 18-hole course can cover five to six miles), but you’ll burn extra calories if you forgo the caddy and carry your own gear.

Swimming

What it works: Arms, chest, back, shoulders, legs, and core
Why it’s cool: If you’re really looking for summer sports that don’t make you feel like you’re working out, swimming is the ultimate winner. You’re way less likely to break a sweat when you’re in the water, and the buoyancy of the water itself helps you feel like you can work harder for longer periods of time. But don’t be fooled—swimming is a full-body workout, especially if you choose more challenging strokes like breast and butterfly, says Rosante. To up the ante, incorporate tools like hand paddles and pull buoys to force you to zero in on your technique (great if you’re prepping for triathlons). And when you just need a breather, well, there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ doggy paddle.

Kayaking

What it works: Arms, shoulders, back, and core
Why it’s cool: It’s a cool way to sightsee on vacation and a relaxing way to rev your calorie burn when you’re not looking to skyrocket your heart rate. You can set your own paddle pace, though, and if you maintain a quick clip, you’ll definitely feel your back straightening, abs tightening, and arms burning. Remember to pull from your core when paddling so your arms don’t burn out too quickly (focus on sitting up straight and sucking your belly to your spine). And if you want an extra challenge, hit an area that has waves for you to navigate.

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