» By DANIEL NEWTON – dnewton7@my.apsu.edu

The summer is a break from school work and lessening of responsibilities for many of us. Some stay just as busy during the summer as during the school year. There a few things you can do in the summer for fun that will help you stay fit, healthy and stress-free without having to go the extra mile to perform.

Here are a few things you can do normally and not realize you’re exercising or dieting to help you stay healthy during the summer and snap back into the fall semester full of energy and eager to accomplish the semester GPA you have always wanted.

Go to the pool: Swimming constantly for an hour burns around 1,000 calories an hour, so playing around with your friends for hours and hours has to burn something, right? Throw in some games of chicken and largest-splash contests and you have a good lower-body workout as well.

Canoe with friends: It may be an excuse to drink with your buddies and hang out on the water, but canoeing lightly for an hour can burn almost 600 calories. Just do not cancel those calories burned with too many alcoholic refreshments with little nutritional value, and like Captain Morgan says, always drink responsibly.

Golf: Walking 18 holes carrying your bag can burn almost 1,500 calories, almost 75 percent of the recommended calorie intake for the day. It is a great way to relax, enjoy the weather and bond with your fellow golfing partners.

Go to the club: If you are really shaking your money-maker, you can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Even the common uncoordinated swayer who stays in one spot can burn more than 200 an hour. If you look good enough, you may not even need to pay for anything to enjoy the night.

Water-balloon fight: Run around with friends or strangers for an hour throwing water balloons and dodging your enemies, and tell me you are not worn out. If a wall-sitter at a club can burn 200 calories, think of how many you will burn while doing your best Billy Haywood impersonation. (From the movie ‘Little Big League’ for those who do not understand the reference)

Frisbee: The average person can burn more than 400 calories an hour lightly playing ultimate frisbee, but who honestly plays for only one hour?

Eat watermelon: With only 46 calories per one-cup serving, watermelon is great for keeping you healthy. It contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals and is sweet without needing to add any sugar.

Grow a garden: Tending to a garden relaxes your mind and offers you a payoff in food in the end. Getting your hands dirty can burn calories, reduce stress and provide you with delicious vegetables. Just beware of squirrels, a garden’s sworn nemesis and biggest hindrance to success.

Chopping wood: Since winter has passed, we can tell by now if a tree is going to make it or is already gone. Chopping wood is a full-body work out that can wear you out faster than you expect, but tapping into your internal Paul Bunyan will release stress and work your body. Since it is summer, you can go without wearing a t-shirt instead of being forced to wear flannel and grow a beard to fit the part.

Walk to the gas station: Whether you are going to buy a healthy snack or another round of sodas and bon-bons, walking to the gas station is a simple way to stay fit that most people do not realize. Most people have a gas station within two miles from their residency and can easily find the time to enjoy the concrete scenery between their place and the local gas station/chicken shack/bait shop.

Your summer may consist of 12-hour work days and online homework, or it may consist of a lot of “Boy Meets World” and “American Gladiator” reruns viewed safely from the view of your favorite loveseat. Either way, there is still a way to get out and be active without spending hours hating your life while you run aimlessly on a treadmill or push-mow every elderly ladies yard in the neighborhood. Enjoy your summer and stay active, Clarksville. TAS