13 of the most relaxing ways to burn calories

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Spin classes burn a ton of calories.
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Courtesy of SoulCycle

Exercise can be unpleasant, especially if you’re not in the habit of working out and are trying to get started again.

Much of the success or failure of an exercise program depends on your ability to stick to it, and incorporate it into your routine.

One way to get into the habit of exercise is to find activities you enjoy from the start – that relax you as much as they get your body moving.

Business Insider recently analyzed a variety of ways people can burn calories, and not every form of exercise requires joining a gym or taking up a new sport.

Here are 13 ways to work out that feel a lot more relaxing than than going to the gym, listed from lowest intensity to highest. The calorie-burning estimates for each one are based on National Institutes of Health research, and calculated for a 200-pound person.

The important caveat here, of course, that exercising on its own actually doesn’t do much to make you lose weight. If you want to slim down, we suggest talking to a doctor about what a healthy weight is for you and working to cut down on sugar and unnecessarily large portion sizes.


13. Hatha yoga | 228 calories/hour

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Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Hatha yoga, a version of the exercise practice centered on holding specific poses, sits at the bottom of this list, burning an average of about228 calories per hourin a 200-pound person. It’s not the most intense exercise, but it gets you stretching and moving.


12. A slow walk | 255 calories/hour

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Flickr / Ed Yourdon

Many people might not think of casual walking as exercise, but it is. Building long walks into your daily schedule can have an impact. For every hour walked at 2 mph, a 200-pound person burns 255 calories.


11. Bowling | 273 calories/hour

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Wikimedia Commons

Bowling can feel more like an arcade game than anything else, but it actually burns 273 calories per active hour. If you’re trying to lose weight, however, you should probably consider skipping the beer and pizza while you’re at it.


10. Ballroom dancing | 273 calories/hour

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Flickr / Penn State Live

Ballroom dancing can be a fun hobby or even a competitive sport. But it’s also a decent form of exercise. People ballroom dancing burn 273 calories per hour. Other forms of more vigorous dance may yield even better results.


9. Tai Chi | 273 calories/hour

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Nir Elias/Reuters

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art, and often practiced as a form of exercise. But its slow, deliberate movements give it a very different feel from other workouts. It burns 273 calories per hour.


8. Canoeing | 319 calories/hour

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Shutterstock

If you live near a body of water, here’s a reason to go out on it more often. A leisurely paddle down a river will burn 319 calories in an hour for a 200-pound person.


7. Slow, easy cycling | 364 calories/hour

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Thomson Reuters

Leisure cycling, defined as a pace under 10 mph, burns about 364 calories per hour in a 200-pound person. That’s similar to playing volleyball or doing power yoga.


6. Golfing (and carrying your clubs) | 391 calories/hour

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Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

If you carry your own clubs around the course while you play golf, a 200-pound person can expect to burn 391 calories per hour. That’s similar to a brisk walk.


5. A brisk walk | 391 calories/hour

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Thomson Reuters

Walking quickly is even more effective than going on a stroll. Get up to about 3.5 miles per hour on your way to work, and you can burn 391 calories per hour.


4. Light or moderate lap swimming | 528 calories/hour

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Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Swim light or moderate laps in a pool, and a 200-pound person can burn 528 calories per hour.


3. Hiking | 546 calories/hour

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Flickr / Jeremy Atkinson

Hiking gets you out into nature and feeling great – it’s a far cry from the plastic machines and spandex pants at the gym. But it can burn 546 calories per hour in a 200-pound person.


2. Backpacking | 637 calories/hour

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Flickr / Gunnar Hildonen

Want to burn even more? Go backpacking. A 200-pound person will use about 637 calories per hour on a hike with a heavy pack. That’s as good as a fast-paced game of racquetball.


1. Rollerblading | 683 calories/hour

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Reuters/Reuters Photographer

Rollerblading is intense, burning 683 calories per hour. Rollerblade your way to and from work (or around a park) and you’ll get an excellent workout.