5 Water Sports That Give the Best Burn

| Fitness

No, not a sunburn. It won't look like you're feeling the burn (or are a sweaty mess) by engaging in some of these water sports, but rest assured that your body will be working double time. Thankfully, fun in the sun can rival a decent workout routine. Water reduces your bodyweight by about 90 percent, so when splashing around and moving your extremities, you'll significantly reduce joint stress and be well on your way to getting a fantastic cardio workout. Next time you're rewarding yourself with a beachside day, reward your body with a beachside burn!

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Freestyle swimming: Depending on the intensity of your stroke and the duration of your swim, you could burn up to 600 calories per hour! Even treading water could burn more than 500 calories per hour. Make sure you're not cheating with a pool noodle or a piña colada in hand; if you want to build muscle mass and lose fat, work your arms and legs evenly. Also, mix up your swim routine: tread water for 10 minutes, then do 10 strokes with your arms, then 10 strokes with just your legs. Wear fins if you have them! Fins boost resistance for effective toning of your legs.

Canoeing or kayaking: Target your triceps, biceps, shoulders and upper back with this upper body workout. Your core is actively engaged whenever your paddle hits the water, as are your legs! At an average speed of 4 mph, one hour of regular paddling can burn over 500 calories. Because of the balancing act this requires of your body, many muscles are tight and engaged. As an added bonus, you'll see the environment from a new perspective. You could always pack a picnic and make a date of it. Make sure to stretch before and after, or you will be sore the next morning!


Paddle-boarding: SUP? Stand-up paddle-boarding, or SUP as it is devotedly known, is another fantastic upper body workout. Glide over the water, explore coves and find secluded beaches. But don't be fooled; paddle-boarding is hard work. It requires tons of balance, so your abdominal muscles, quads, glutes and hamstrings are tight the entire time. If you try this on a windy day, it will be an even better workout because you'll be tackling the current and waves. If you decide to devote an hour to paddle-boarding, you can burn more than 400 calories.

Water-skiing or wakeboarding: The amount of effort it takes to pull your body up and out of the water is a workout in itself. If you're able to get up and going on water skis or a wakeboard, your legs and core will be tight and engaged the whole ride. Add in the resistance of the water against your board and you've got yourself an hour of building strength and endurance. An article on Men's Fitness says that "a successful water-ski run is basically a prolonged wall sit — but without the wall and with the resistance of the water." An hour of this water sport can burn more than 400 calories.

Water volleyball: Get the whole family out of their lounge chairs and play an hour of water volleyball. A little family competition never hurt anybody, right? You'll fight the resistance of the water to get those digs and spikes, and give your upper body some strength training. Burn over 200 calories by playing a game of water volleyball.

>> Need other ideas for keeping the family active this summer? Here's 50 of them!