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Fun outdoor workouts can blast calories

Summer is under way, and it is already the end of June. I spend many days inside the Y exercising in the perfect conditions. I ride a bike four to five times a week, I'm in the pool teaching water classes and bootcamp running around the track, up and down the stairs. What things do I do outside or am I going to do this summer that are fun and blast calories? Why not add some more invigorating and challenging fun workouts on the weekend?

You don't have to be a hard-core athlete or fitness freak to get the most out of biking, hiking, kayaking/canoeing or swimming. Top off your normal weekday exercise routine with one of these weekend activities to get fit and firm — fast.

Weekend 1: Kayaking/canoeing

Calories burned: 340 per hour.

Body benefits:A sculpted upper body. Pulling the paddle against the water is great resistance; you target your shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and core.


Weekend benefits: It's like meditating on water, says Rhett Pruitt, a 34-year-old raft guide and recreational kayaker in Long Creek, S.C. It's peaceful, quiet and not intimidating. It's also a perfect vantage point for taking in wildlife that you may never see otherwise.

Word to the wise:Beginners should use an open kayak or take a lesson to learn how to escape the kayak first.

Your destination:Scope the Internet to find places in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Last summer, we went on the Upper Iowa River for a four-hour kayaking trip. We saw beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Weekend 2: Hiking

Calories burned:Up to 400 per hour.

Body benefits:Improved cardiovascular fitness. Hiking will give you stronger, leaner thighs and firm your rear.

Weekend benefits:You get to unplug from society. Hiker Lori Pfankuch, 47, who traverses Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, says: "Hiking takes you out of your world so you can reflect."

Word to the wise:Invest in a good pair of boots or trail runners and be sure to break them in by wearing them on errands before you hike.


Your destination:For hiking clubs near you, check out the American Hiking Society. If you are unable to leave the area, head to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and get off the paved paths and hit the wooded area and the open fields. Even climb the tower for an increased cardio challenge.

Weekend 3: Cycling

Calories burned:500 to 700 per hour, depending on speed and terrain.

Body benefits:Improved cardiovascular fitness plus solid legs and buns.

Weekend benefits:Cycling will give you more zip, both on and off the bike.

Word to the wise:We know that Spandex can be unflattering, but it makes a huge difference when cycling. Cycle shorts provide padding and wick away moisture, preventing your rear end, legs and crotch from getting chafed.

Your destination:For biking trails in Minnesota or other states, consult Bicycling.com . There are several women and men who ride in groups throughout the week right in Austin. €¨Â€¨

Weekend 4: Swimming


Calories burned:300 to 700 per hour depending on duration.

Body benefits:Improved cardiovascular fitness, but most importantly, less stress on joints. A great form of rehab for those recovering from an injury.

Word to the wise:Swimming can be a challenge to coordinate breath and body while trying to stay afloat. Hitting the pool with fins can help make swimming easier and more fun. With fins on, you'll be able to swim faster. Feet that don't sink mean it's easier to maintain proper technique. Wear fins at the start of your workout to achieve proper form. After a few laps, take them off and try swimming traditionally. Fins aren't recommended if you are swimming with the breaststroke.

Your destination:Austin's Municipal Pool or area lakes.

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