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Backyard Games: Having Fun, Burning Calories

If you plan to spend more time in your yard this summer, there’s no reason for all of it to be spent snoozing in a hammock, especially if you need to keep children entertained. Playing old-fashioned outdoor games will let the kids blow off steam while allowing you to get in some exercise.

Any movement—even time simply spent standing up instead of sitting down—is better than no movement. That being said, some games hold higher calorie-killing potential than others. Here are some suggestions.

  • Badminton: Serious play is singles (two people) or doubles (four); in a backyard setting, sides tend to be determined by how many rackets you have on hand. If smaller kids are playing, let them take a whack at the shuttlecock, too. Estimated burn rate: 158 calories*
  • Basketball: Shooting hoops is a great way to get your blood moving; play an actual game and your calorie burn goes up. Just be careful about your jumps—you don’t want to tweak a knee or roll an ankle. Estimated burn rate: 150 calories
  • Bean Bag Toss: Also known as cornhole, this game can make for entertaining family competition or allow one person to perfect his or her form. If you’re a DIYer, you can save a few dollars by constructing the board yourself. Estimated burn rate: 90 calories
  • Lawn Bowling: Another hit-the-target game that allows serious bowlers to get their fix while the lanes are closed. Estimated burn rate: 105 calories
  • Soccer: No uniforms, no refs…no problem! If your child is seriously into the sport, you can work on drills for shooting, passing, dribbling, etc. But even a casual game will let you have fun while staying active. Estimated burn rate: 260 calories (the goalie burns fewer)
  • Tag: It doesn’t get any more basic than this—and kids love it when Mom or Dad (or both!) get involved. Estimated burn rate: 160 calories

*All estimated calorie burn rates assume a 155-pound person playing for 30 minutes; given the same intensity level, heavier people tend to burn more calories, lighter people tend to burn fewer.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.