By Diana Gerstacker
In a world where the newest, hottest, best workout is forever changing, it seems like a losing battle to try to keep track of the trends. One day a chic new cycling class has taken over and the next day it’s jazz Pilates with a yoga infusion -- whatever that is. Who can keep all these classes straight?
While fitness fanatics shuffle back and forth to the new hottest thing that will supposedly burn up calories, build strength and solve all of your problems, we think some of the tried and true activities deserve some love, too. Water sports are one of the best parts of summer and even if you might not realize it at the time, these activities are putting you through a killer workout.
Whether you’re surfing, swimming or wakeboarding, the resistance of the water is building strength -- often more efficiently than lifting weights in the gym. Water sports with boards require balance, which is great for building core strength and agility in general and practically any activity on or in the water can be turned into a great cardio workout. Add to that the rising temperatures on land and who wouldn’t want to get in a workout on the water?
In celebration of summer and the awesome strength-building powers of water, we've highlighted some of the water sports that are probably better -- and definitely more fun -- than your current workout.
While kayaking might not seem like the typical total-body workout, it definitely deserves a spot on this list. Paddling is one of the best cardio-strength training combinations out there. If you're looking to tone your legs, arms and core, take a break from the gym and rent a kayak.
Water polo players are constantly alternating between treading water and high intensity sprints -- a combination that creates an effective full body workout. Organize a casual game or compete in a league and enjoy the benefits of this tough workout while you’re distracted by your competitive spirit.
Windsurfing is anything but a typical sport and the physical benefits are exceptional, too. Balancing on the board improves core strength and directing the sail targets muscles in the upper body from forearms down into the lower back. As you improve on the board, windsurfing becomes a great cardio workout. But even if you're a beginner spending most of the time falling off the board, repeatedly pulling yourself out of the water and back onto the board is a workout in itself.
While most divers will say that scuba diving is more of a leisurely hobby and less of an intense workout, it can be a bit of both. All that equipment can weigh upwards of 50 pounds and powering yourself through a long dive can be strenuous. Ultimately, you set the pace.
If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled workout that you can enjoy with a few friends, rafting is the way to go. As we've mentioned before, paddling is great strength and cardio training and the thrill of taking on rough waters will drive you to work even harder.
This sport might be hard to master, but once you've got it wakeboarding is a great workout. Challenge and tone your legs, core and arms while maintaining balance and add tricks to your routine when you improve. Wakeboarding is another water sport that doesn't feel like a workout, it just feels like summer fun.
More From The Active Times:
-- 8 Reasons You Should Kayak
-- 7 Reasons You Should Surf
-- This Version of SUP Takes Paddleboarding to the Extreme
-- The World's Most Surprising Surf Spots