We've all been there, the run up to summer spells a season of living in the gym preparing your ‘summer body' for its grand unveiling once the weather heats up. It's true what they say, a summer body is made in the winter. But unfortunately that means we spend most of our exercise time in the winter months cooped up in a gym unless we're willing to brave the elements.
Once we've achieved our beach bod it's easy to think only of finding a hammock to relax in the drowsy heat. But where would the fun be in that? Summer is the perfect time to blitz your bod, keeping it in optimal shape, while also getting to spend time in the outdoors doing something you love.
Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or looking to become one with nature, there is a summer sport perfect for you that also burns serious calories, making sure your summer body lasts well into the fall.
If that hammock is a little too damn comfortable or you're just lacking inspiration, have a look at our list of the top 10 summer sports that torch serious calories.
Ok, so let's start with the fairly obvious choice. Once the temperature rises and the water stops seeming scarily cold and instead becomes an oasis from the heat, it's time to grab your swim suit and goggles and head out. We're not aiming to float around like a mermaid but instead get in a full-body work out. Anyone who has ever watched a swim meet can attest to the sheer power and grace it takes to drag a body through the water and these two elements are exactly what you need to burn those calories.
The water resistance makes swimming a much more effective muscle toning exercise than anything on land whilst also being friendly for any injury conscious participants due to the buoyancy. It also improves our breathing while acting as a work-out long stretching session while we move our bodies in elongated motions.
2. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
If the cool blue is calling you but you'd rather be on the water than in the water, stand up paddle boarding may just be for you. A conditioning work-out that focuses on balance, paddle boarding gives you a full body work-out that is low intensity yet provides endurance training and can still up your heart rate enough to get in a good cardio session.
The difficulty depends on your pace which makes it an inclusive sport for anyone wishing to give it a try. It's also a fantastic way to explore your local coast line and really appreciate a calm moment on the water.
3. Rock Climbing
If you're looking for a punishing full-body work out without having to get wet (unless you're really unlucky with the weather) then head to your nearest rock face and get going. Rock climbing is an adrenaline junkie's dream, with the sky really being the limit, yet it is accessible for all levels. From bouldering without ropes to outdoor sheer faces, rock climbing uses every muscle in the body from fingers to toes and will work up a serious appetite.
If you're looking for something slightly less physically draining but that can still get the heart rate up, hiking is a great option that is inclusive for all the family. Affording the participants fantastic views as a reward for their hard work, hiking is a calmer sport for those who don't enjoy adrenaline based activities. A fantastic lower body work out and a good way to get your heart rate up, a good way to measure your pace is to make sure that you can talk without too much difficulty, but you're not quite ready to have a debate with your hiking partner.
Let's be honest, we all know why we watch volleyball matches. The athletes' impressive bodies are a testament of the physical work that goes into a volleyball match whether it's competitive or friendly. A massive core work out that is still fairly cardio intensive and includes explosive plyometric moves to get the ball back over the net, volleyball can get intense. Add the sand into the mix and you really are giving yourself a challenging, competitive and fun work-out.
For those who don't have the balance for stand up paddle boarding, kayaking is another great option to get you on the water. A core work-out that also focuses on upper body strength, namely back, shoulders and arms, kayaking is a sport that needs strength and endurance. Again, the intensity all depends on your pace so you have complete control. If you want to up the ante, head out to some waves!
7. Water-skiing and Wakeboarding
If you really want to challenge yourself on the water, grab a pair of skis or a wakeboard. Though it can sometimes look like a fairly static sport, don't underestimate the power it takes to get yourself above the waves while being dragged around by a boat! Water-skiing and wakeboarding offer a full body work-out in two parts: upper body strength is needed just to pull yourself out of the water, then lower body strength is needed to deal with the water resistance whilst maintaining the correct stance (basically a squat) for an extended period. Add in explosive movements needed to do any tricks and this really is an all-rounder!
8. Water Polo
A cross between soccer, equestrian polo and rugby… but in water. Sounds strange and it kind of is but, oh my, is it effective. Burning roughly the same amount of calories as swimming, water polo will improve your endurance by getting you to swim kilometre after kilometre, build and tone muscle due to the water resistance and give you a hefty cardiovascular work-out while burning hundreds of calories.
A game that can be played year round, but is best enjoyed on a sunny day on an outdoor court. For a hard-hitting work-out, grab a ball and head to the hoop. Basketball requires stamina for running up and down the court, and strength in your core and legs for performing the explosive jump movements needed to get your ball in the basket.
A work-out for the mind as well as the body, tennis provides a calorie busting session that will keep you on your toes. Explosive sprints and tactical calculations are enough to keep your whole body occupied during a work-out that will provide improvements in both cardiovascular health and muscle tone. If strategic games are your thing, grab your tennis whites and hit the court.
During the summer months, it's easy to get sluggish in the never ending heat but come fall we always regret not getting out there more and taking advantage of the perfect conditions so if you do anything this summer, let it be picking a sport and giving it your all.