You don’t usually think of workouts when you think of the beach. The idea of the beach is usually associated with fun stuff like lying in the sun, downing a cold beer and watching the day go lazily by. Now why would anyone want to ruin such a pretty picture with a workout? We get your point. But beach workouts will only make your time at the beach more fun, we promise.
The best thing is that most beach workouts are just stuff you would do on the beach anyway. Really, no kidding. We’ll look at the different types of beach workouts in a moment. First, let’s see why beach workouts have such a good reputation.
Why Are Beach Workouts So Great?
- It’s outdoors. Outdoor workouts are generally more effective at burning calories.
- Plus, the scenery provides relief from the boredom of exercise which means you will probably put in a lot more effort without even realizing it since you are so distracted by the sky, the sand, the ocean, the breeze, the other pretty people in skimpy clothes… workout? What workout?
- Yes, beach workouts don’t quite feel like ‘work’ per se. However, workouts in the sand will simply blast those calories away. The sand provides resistance which you have to work hard against. So even just taking a walk for five minutes in the sand is the equivalent to walking for fifteen minutes on a concrete road because of how much you are going to have to push yourself to move against the resistance of the sand. While the push against the sand will give your workouts more zing, you don’t have to worry about any joint impact. Even a sprint across a sandy beach has very little impact on your knees, ankles and hips. You can even run barefoot across the sand and you’ll never feel the need for padding. Although we do not recommend this because some beaches can be really dirty and you could hurt or cut the soles of your feet on litter that’s hidden by the sand.
- Workouts in the ocean mean you have to battle the mighty waves. Even if it’s low tide, an ocean current is no small thing to fight against.
Even if these arguments in favor of beach workouts have not convinced you, we know that just reading about some of what constitutes a beach workout will have you heading for the shore. Here we go.
One of the more fun beach workouts, volleyball is one of the most popular games played on the beach because the need for teams makes this one an enjoyable activity for the whole family or your entire gang of friends. If you are alone, you can make a new bunch of friends by joining in a beach volleyball game. Exercise is always easier when you have company. If volleyball isn’t your thing, try tossing the Frisbee around or get into a friendly game of touch football.
Here’s something you can do to give your jogging routine on the beach a real calorie-burning, muscle-building, lung-expanding boost. Go into the water till you’re about knee-deep. Now run parallel to the ocean for about 30 to 60 seconds, depending on your stamina. This is really hard work so don’t burn yourself out by going for too long. After your sprint in the water, run out of the water into the sand and jog there for a minute or two. Then back again to knee-deep in water for another 30- to 60-second bout. When you get more used to it, you can run in a zig-zag direction in and out of the water.
Running in the sand will give you calves and glutes a fabulous workout. The few seconds you spend running the water will make you lift your knees higher to move forward and you’ll really have to push yourself to keep it up.
Swimming in the Ocean
Can this really be classified into beach workouts since you can swim in a pool too? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’!
Swimming in the ocean is a totally different experience from swimming in a pool. The main factor that makes this one of the toughest beach workouts is the tidal waves that you have to work against just to keep afloat. Wonderfully exhilarating and uber exhausting, an ocean swim will give you a great total-body workout without impacting your joints.
Situps, pushups, crunches, squats, lunges – any of them will feel much tougher on the beach. It’s all that wonderful resistant sand that does the trick again.
Most exercise enthusiasts would not classify yoga as a workout. Ask anyone who actually does yoga though and they’ll tell you that it gives you a great cardio workout while calming your mind at the same time. If you can find a quiet little spot on the beach where you can unroll your yoga mat, then go for it. The natural scenery and the sound of the waves will make it easier to get centered for your practice.
Ever seen an overweight surfer? OK, maybe you have. But the serious surfers who have been doing it for awhile usually have lean and mean bods. Surfing is mind-blowing fun. It’s also a pretty awesome beach workout. You’ll be working your core to the extreme as you try to keep your balance as the waves hit your surf board. You’ll see (or rather feel) your legs developing muscles you did not know you had.
This is a great beach workout for the same reason as surfing. You have to use your entire body and your core to stay on those skinny skis. Plus, it’s super fun even if you fall down a dozen times.
Piggy Back Runs
You’ll need your adventurous friends or kids for this one. Get someone to latch onto your back. Then run into ocean as far as you can. You have to fight the incoming wave to stay upright. The extra weight on your back will strengthen back and shoulder muscles too in addition to giving your legs more work.
Precautions for Beach Workouts
Thankfully, beach workouts are usually quite safe and there is little you need to take care of. We won’t ruin your ideal workout with a whole list of rules, but there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Do not do your beach workouts between 11 am and 4 pm. It’s far too hot and that kind of exposure to the sun will cause sun burn, dehydration and damage your skin and hair.
- Always wear sunscreen, even if you are going to the beach early in the morning. Our ozone layer isn’t what it used to be and harmful ultraviolet rays can get in even though the sun isn’t all the way up in the sky yet. So make sure you protect yourself by wearing a high SPF lotion. Re-apply every one or two hours. If your beach workouts involve contact with water, then your sunscreen should be water-proof.
- It’s easy to forget to drink water during beach workouts. The ocean breeze and the cool spray of the water can fool your mind into thinking that the body is not thirsty. However, all workouts dehydrate the body since there is sweating involved. So sip water regularly.
- Avoid the beach after dark as it can be unsafe. Most beaches are not very well lit and it has the potential for danger.
- If jogging or walking on the beach, one of the pitfalls you have to deal with is that the surfaces may not always be even. Look for the flatter surfaces on the beach to walk or run on.
- When doing situps or pushups, plop down in areas that are clear of sea shells. They can hurt pretty bad if they rip the skin. Even if they don’t, they’ll make your workout uncomfortable and put you off.
- Postpone water-based beach workouts to the summer season. Ocean water is too cold for beach workouts in the winter, even in the heat of the day. Cold water not only fatigues you more easily, but it can also put you at risk of hypothermia.
- If swimming or surfing falls into your routine of beach workouts, steer clear of areas in the ocean that are known to harbour sea life like jellyfish or sea lice. Ask a lifeguard at the beach about any potential dangers in the areas that you are scheduling your beach workouts.
- Respect the environment no matter which of these beach workouts you go with. Don’t swim in a coral reef as it disturbs the flora and fauna. Learn as much as possible about the beach where you are planning your workouts so that you know what to steer clear of. Even your running route could take you along the road where sea turtles lay their eggs. You’re there for your beach workouts, not to harm the life there by ignorance. Take responsibility.
Finally, remember that beach workouts are much tougher than working out at a gym or a court or concrete surfaces. You will feel that it is more challenging than your regular workouts. Don’t let this discourage you. It does not reflect on your level of fitness. Your body will take a few days to adapt to the stress of beach workouts. Once it does, you will see only the amazing benefits and forget your initial trials.
So give your beach workouts a fighting chance. Above all, remember to have fun. Beaches weren’t made for worries after all.