By Denis Faye

Every January, thousands of ambitious souls take a major step on the road to fitness and order an in-home fitness program like ChaLEAN Extreme® or P90X®. And every June, thousands of newly ripped, super-fit, would-be athletes buy themselves fancy new surfboards or top-of-the-line pro volleyballs and commit to taking up that summer sport they've always dreamed about.

Then something happens. Maybe a wave smacks them in the face and they eat fiberglass, or they dislocate their coccyx before that first volleyball set is even over. Or maybe they remember that they live in Montana, making wave riding or beach volleyball highly improbable. Either way, as the leaves turn brown and fall from the trees, the board and ball go back into hiding. Dreams of being a summer sports sensation fade away, unrealized.

But it doesn't need to be this way. Just because you're super-fit doesn't mean you need to surf monster 50-foot swells. Sure, there's nothing nobler than shooting for your dreams, but in between killer spikes, why not fill your time with less ambitious, but (almost) equally fun outdoor activities? And if you like them, you can dial them up a little.

Here are a few examples.
  1. Frisbee®. It may take a few tries to master the wrist action, but once you do, Frisbee is the ultimate take-anywhere group game.

    Dial it up: Back-and-forth tossing will improve hand-eye coordination, and if you have a crew that wants to get serious, try a little Ultimate Frisbee, which is sort of like rugby but with a plastic disk and less bruising.

    Wham-O® Classic-Style Frisbee Disc: $3.50
  2. Squirt guns. No, it's not politically correct, but have you seen squirt guns nowadays? They blast like 30 feet. So rad! A squirt-gun battle is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day, get your heart rate up, and party with your kids.

    Dial it up: Throw what semblance of civility you still have out the window and take a crack at paint guns. You might want to leave the kids at home for this one.

    Super Soaker® Vaporizer Water Blaster Twin Pack: $19.99
  3. Hacky Sack®. Another perfect take-anywhere activity that improves hand-eye coordination. You can practice alone or with friends. If you collect three sacks, you can embark on our next activity . . .

    Dial it up: Juggling isn't much easier to learn than surfing or volleyball. But you can practice anywhere and anytime. And everyone loves the guy who juggles at a party. Provided, of course, that you don't break anything.

    Hacky Sack: $3.00
  4. Hula-hoop. Great core workout. You'll look goofy but in a stylin' '50s retro way. And if it just doesn't work for you, you can always train your dog to jump through it.

    Dial it up: Get a Hula-hoop going on each arm, your waist, and your neck, then we'll talk.

    Go Go Hoop (Collapsible): $12.95
  5. Jump rope. We're not just talking double Dutch here. Jumping rope is a killer workout that will increase almost every aspect of your fitness. Plus, you can take it anywhere.

    Dial it up: Rope jumping is already dialed up, but try mixing it with push-ups for a full-body challenge.

    Valeo® Speed Jump Rope: $6.75
  6. Horseshoes. Not so great when it comes to hard cardio, but you do get a little muscle control practice, and absolutely everyone, regardless of age, can play together. It's also one of those wonderful sports that requires you to hold a cool beverage in the non-pitching hand. I think it provides ballast.

    Dial it up: There's no dialing up horseshoes!

    Halex® Classic Horseshoe Set: $24.99
  7. Bocce ball. Think of it as a treacherous version of horseshoes. You're supposed to throw your ball to get as close to the smaller ball—the jack—as possible, but once you get good at it, you can smack the other players' balls out of the way.

    Dial it up: See horseshoes.

    Spalding® Power Play Bocce Ball Set: $39.95
  8. Croquet. The third in our "Anyone Can Play" trilogy. If you have a lawn, you have an arena. It's not exactly high impact, but it's better than sitting in that lawn chair all day.

    Dial it up: See horseshoes and bocce ball. Jeez! Try to relax and enjoy yourself for once.

    Franklin® Classic Croquet Set: $69.99
  9. Badminton. Here's a competitive sport you can set up anywhere. It's light, polite, fun cardio that sharpens your hand-eye coordination—as long as you don't become a jerk about it and start slamming the birdie across the net. If you have an urge to do this, just remember your aching coccyx and how unforgiving those volleyball players were to you last summer.

    Dial it up: Tennis, anyone?

    Franklin® Classic Badminton Set: $39.99