Keeping with a fitness routine can be challenging with the million other daily tasks that arise demanding attention which sometimes makes it very challenging if not nearly impossible to carve time out for the gym. This is especially true when traveling frequently which can easily result in noticeable set-backs to progress being made towards a goal. Careful planning to set aside time for a workout or just getting up early can often mitigate the issue, but sometimes on vacations or leisure travel it is hard to justify dedicating too much time to working out when there is a new city just outside the door waiting to be discovered. So here are ten of my favorite ways to stay in shape while exploring more of the local area and the number of calories burned per hour doing the activity:
1) Hiking- 430 calories
Obviously hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities because it is a great way to stay active while getting some of the most incredible views in town. Whether it is going with a small pack with just water and snacks for the day or loading up with all the gear for a multi-day trek, hiking is a great way to burn a lot of calories as well. Slick hiking burns about 430 calories an hour, carrying a light load in a daypack increases that by 50-100 more calories, and carrying heavier packs burns up to 200 calories more per hour.*
2) Kayaking- 340 calories
One of the easiest water sports and best ways to see a lot of the area is by kayak. From kayaking mangroves in Japan to paddling around the world's largest swimming pool in Chile, this has been a cheap fun way that I have seen more of the local sites while getting a good shoulder workout in.
3) Surfing- 470 calories
While there are occasionally lulls in the nearly constant waves where you end up hanging out on the board, surfing is one of most exhausting but fun activities. With all of the paddling that is required and diving under waves while waiting for a good one to come catch, it is easy to completely wear yourself out after a few hours. It is excellent cardio that uses all of the major muscle group and is a great core workout that requires a combination of balance and control. It is also a great way to work on a tan during vacation, which tends to be high on my priority list.
4) Jogging- 670 calories
One of the easiest ways to cover a lot of ground in a new place and get your heart rate up is to simply go for a jog around the city. It is a great way to discover some hidden areas or interesting streets that you otherwise probably would not have passed by and helps to familiarize and orient you to the new place. Jogging is also a good way to start a morning off because by the time you finish, you already feel extremely productive and subsequently less guilty for indulging on a pastry or two at breakfast.
5) Yoga- 200 calories
While yoga typically burns the least amount of calories, it is a great way to recover from a long plane ride or trip in order to loosen up stiff muscles from long hours in transit. Many places also offer fun varieties of yoga classes like Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board yoga or beach yoga. Again, a great opportunity to work on the tan and often some pretty memorable locations.
6) Scuba Diving- 600 calories
Another great water sport to burn a lot of calories is scuba diving. Many places offer unique diving sites such as the Underwater Museum in Cancun, the Moai Statue in Easter Island, shipwrecks, diving with Whale Sharks or Tiger Sharks, etc. If diving is not your idea of a fun relaxed afternoon, snorkeling is an excellent alternative and burns 270 calories an hour.
7) Bicycling- 495 calories
An inexpensive way to tour cities is renting bicycles and cruising around! So many places are becoming increasingly bike friendly and it is a super affordable and convenient way to explore. With numerous rental shops and occasional bike tours becoming available, this mode of transportation is becoming more popular and is a much healthier option than just riding on a hop on and off bus.
8) Swimming- 590 calories
Swimming is another high calorie burner that can be incorporated into many afternoons at the beach! Jumping in and swimming in the ocean or swimming pool for a bit is great way for its cardiovascular benefits because of all the muscle groups it uses and how it engages all your core. It is also a great form of exercise when coming off of an injury because it is a great aerobic exercise that is also low impact.
9) Dancing- 450 calories
One of the more fun activities on this list, dancing can definitely be a great way to work up a sweat. Whether it is learning the tango in Buenos Aires or stopping traffic by starting a flash mob in the middle of the street in Hong Kong, dancing is a fantastic way to learn some local moves or to get out and show off some of yours. The best part about dancing is that no skill is required, just a lot of enthusiasm!
10) Stair Climbing- 400 Calories
While spending an hour on the stair master is a special form of self-punishment, climbing numerous flights of stairs in an old church tower to reach a high vantage point is often a great way to get some aerial shots over a city and also certainly getting your heart rate up. There are also plenty of opportunities to throw a quick set of stairs or two in while out on a morning jog to burn a few extra calories for that well-deserved afternoon gelato.
*Estimates are based on weighing 150lbs but you’ll burn slightly more calories from these activities if you weigh, or slightly less if you weigh less.