These Indoor Activities Burn Calories and Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

When you’re not quite up for a workout class but don’t want to feel like a total sloth, there are a plethora of other indoor activities that can still offer heart-pumping thrills. Whether you’re on a solo mission or want to embark on an adventure with a group of friends, options like racing through a laser tag course, hitting golf balls at the driving range or scaling a rock climbing wall can burn off calories just as any HIIT or yoga sesh might.

When it comes to fitness, it’s not always about getting yourself to the gym—moving (and maybe even breaking a sweat) is what your body craves. Go ahead and pencil in one of these awesome activities that will make you relive your childhood.


Grab your best pals and pick up a bowling ball! When the weather is less than ideal, bowling is the perfect activity for staying inside. You can burn about 105 calories in 30 minutes (if you weigh around 150 pounds), and the average game lasts about 45 minutes to an hour with five to six people playing. Between the walk back-and-forth from the lane to your chair and the laughs that are sure to ensue with your BFFs, you’ll leave feeling like you hit a strike every single time (even if you only mastered a gutter—we won’t judge).

Ice skating

Time to lace up those skates! A leisurely lap can burn about 100 calories in just 15 minutes—and about 400 in an hour. Ice skating is a nice break for your joints because it’s low-impact (as long as you’re not showing off your double axels!). It also improves balance and coordination since you use the small stabilizer muscles around your hips, knees and ankles that aren’t usually targeted. What’s even better is that working these muscles helps with other activities like running and yoga. Plus, the toning of your large leg muscles might mean you walk out with a tighter booty. We’ll twirl for that.

Indoor golf

When golf courses are closed for the season, consider hitting an indoor driving range or playing mini golf. These activities are less intense than the real deal since you’re not walking a large course or carrying a heavy bag, but you are moving and twisting your body nonetheless. A 155-pound person will burn a little over 200 calories per hour hitting golf balls at the range or participating in a game of mini golf. Gather your friends and challenge them to who can get the most pars. Fore!

Laser tag

It’s about to get intense. Strap on a vest and secure your starting position for a round of laser tag. An 8-minute round of running through and hiding in a maze of barricades can burn around 200 calories. You’ll walk out glistening with sweat and hopefully with a win under your belt. “Combining the obstacles with trying to tag as many people as possible while running from those who are also trying to get you makes for a competitive and fun way to sweat,” says Courtney Ostroot from Princeton, Minnesota.

Trampoline park

The trampoline park craze is in full force with wall-to-wall springboards and foam pits filling warehouse-sized buildings across the country. The International Association of Trampoline Parks (yes, this is a thing—how can we sign up?), showed that only about 35 to 45 parks were open in 2011, but by 2016 about 550 had sprung up (literally). With so many around, there’s bound (whoops—had to) to be one located near you. And you shouldn’t pass it up! What seems like a place just for kids can offer a crazy fun workout for you too. An hour of jumping burns more than 1,000 calories. Just be careful. It’s a low-impact workout, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk for injury. It’s easy to lose your balance, misstep and land awkwardly. Take it slow, and don’t bounce off more than your body can take.

Roller skating

Alright, if you want to relive your ultimate 90s birthday party, head to the roller skating rink. The traditional two-by-two skates burn about 480 calories an hour (for a 150-pound person). Plus, the activity is easy on the knees and joints and has wonderful cardiovascular benefits. Did someone just request the limbo? Yes, please!

Rock climbing

Not a fan of sit ups and pull-ups? You don’t have to be! Head to a rock climbing wall for all the upper-strength benefits these traditional workout moves have to offer. Moving up a rock climbing wall can kick off 500 to 900 calories per hour if you keep rest at a minimum between routes. “It’s fun yet challenging, and you still get a good workout in depending on how much you push yourself,” says Anna Iannuzzelli from Eagan, Minnesota. Strap on a harness and challenge your buddy to a game of who can make it to the top the fastest. Loser buys happy hour!

Emily is a recent graduate and proud Midwesterner who just moved to the big city to start her career in magazine journalism. When she isn't commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan, she enjoys browsing bookstores for her next read, sipping chai tea lattes at local coffee shops, and playing tourist in the city she always dreamed of living in.