As the sunny days become more plentiful and the temperatures begin to rise, most of us are beginning to spend more time outdoors.

Spending time soaking up the sun is a great way to relax, and offers many health benefits.

Not only will spending time outside help you to absorb your daily recommended amount of vitamin D, but participating in outdoor recreational activities is a great way to burn more calories.

If you want to supplement the results of your daily workout routine while also having some fun in the sun, check out these calorie-burning outdoor activities.



Whether you head out to the beach or hit up the local neighborhood pool, you can burn plenty of calories with a refreshing swim.

Depending on your body type and technique, it’s possible to burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories from just one hour of swimming.

This outdoor activity is also a great way to engage in a full body workout. Most swimming techniques involve using your arm, leg, chest, and core muscles.

In addition to helping you burn more calories, swimming is also a great way to cool off on a hot, sunny day!

Bike Riding


This versatile calorie-burning activity can be used as a mode of transportation or enjoyed as a leisurely activity.

Biking at a moderate pace of around 10 to 14 miles per hour can enable you to burn anywhere from around 300 to 400 calories per hour.

You can boost the number of calories you burn by increasing your speed or biking through scenic areas with hills and valleys.

Biking is also a great activity for working on your balance and toning your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.


Canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are all exciting outdoor activities that can yield a high-calorie burn.

The motion of moving paddles against the resistance of the water makes for a highly effective upper body workout. This activity engages the back, arm, and shoulder muscles.

Rowing on a stand-up paddle board gets the leg muscles involved as well. Depending on the type of watercraft you choose and the weather and water conditions, rowing can burn around 150 to 400 calories per hour.

Walking or Running on the Beach


While long walks on the beach can be quite relaxing, they can also significantly contribute to your net calorie burn.

Walking on hard surfaces like concrete can burn up to 200 calories per hour depending on your speed and weight, and running can burn up to 355 calories per hour.  

Moving your walk or run to the beach can give these numbers a noticeable boost.

The European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology found that you can burn almost twice as many calories by walking on sand compared to walking on concrete.

The resistance from the sand also gives your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads a good workout.


Unlike the other outdoor activities we mentioned, gardening isn’t exactly a sport or fitness-related pastime. However, it burns quite a few calories.

Spending just one hour outside tending to your garden can burn between 135 to 200 calories depending on your current body weight.

If you’re also digging, laying sod, or mowing your lawn, you can burn even more calories.

Gardening also allows you to spend some time soaking up the sun and planting plenty of healthy fruits and veggies!


Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School). Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights.

P. Zamparo, R. Perini, C. Orizio. (1992). The energy cost of walking or running on sand. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 65 (2), 183.