With August upon us, ideally you’re spending some time at the beach and being refreshed by nature. While it’s tempting to lounge in the sun with a good book and a cold drink, the beach is a great place to get active. While we love the gym as well, exercising next to, or in, a large body of water, taking in the sun and fresh air, is exhilarating and can inspire extra effort.
You may want to swap your swimsuit temporarily for some lightweight exercise apparel for these fun beach workouts (unless you’re in the water). Grab a partner to keep your motivation high, carry water with you and be sure to wear sunscreen. Then hit the sand and shake up your fitness routine and your body with these terrific beach workouts!
- Swimming. Swimming in open water, whether a lake or ocean, is much different than a pool, so only choose this option if you are a strong swimmer and conditions are calm. For safety, it’s best to swim with a workout partner, stay close to shore or ensure that lifeguards are on duty.
- Kayaking. This is a great upper-body and core workout with no impact, so it’s a good choice if you want to recover from HIIT sessions or give your legs a break. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of the motion, kayaks are typically inexpensive to rent and you can go with a friend for company. Wear a life vest for safety.
- Stand-up paddle boarding. In the category of “definitely not as easy as it looks,” stand-up paddle boarding works balance, strength and core stability. You do need relatively calm water and lots of patience, but this is a unique way to mix up your routine that you can’t do at the gym.
- Jogging. While sand provides some impact absorption, running on a soft surface is definitely more challenging than on the pavement. Studies show that training on an unstable surface like sand can lead to greater increases in aerobic capacity and higher calorie burn than training on other surfaces. Position yourself closer to the water if possible, where the sand is wet and packed, and watch your steps. Or choose the sidewalk if the beach has one. Always wear shoes for safety and stability.
- Cycling. Of course, you can’t ride a bike in the sand, but if there is an adjacent sidewalk or boardwalk, you’re in business. You have to keep an eye out for pedestrians and other cyclists, but you skip the stoplights and cars and benefit from inspiring scenery.
- Yoga. Nothing like getting your om on while you’re facing a beautiful body of water, with serene stillness or rhythmic waves. The sand adds a balance challenge, and sun salutations take on extra meaning. Look for a local class if you’d like to be part of a group, follow a streaming session or simply create your own practice.
- Calisthenics. Follow your own circuit of bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push-ups, planks and more; or choose from streaming workouts or lots of online HIIT routines. Add resistance bands for additional variety since they are easy to carry. Although sand is a forgiving surface, it will make exercises harder, which means you’ll get stronger.
- Volleyball. You need at least one other person for this game, but one-on-one competition means that you’ll do a lot of running back-and-forth, so your workout will be more intense. Plus, you’ll improve your agility and coordination. Bonus: you can be barefoot and wear your swimsuit while working on your tan.