Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Get Your Beach-Bod… At The Beach

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Look Great in That Swimsuit
It’s that time of year again, folks. The time when we trade in our slacks and button-ups for swimsuits and flip flops, the time when we all flock to the beaches. There’s nothing better than relaxing by the water, enjoying the sun, surf, and sand. Do you want a toned swimsuit body? Then you’ve come to the right place! Believe it or not, this beautiful place we generally look to for a little relaxation can also be a great place for a fun, calorie-burning and heart-pumping workout.
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A beach workout combines the fun of a day at the beach with the calorie-burning power of a day at the gym. Even a fitness novice can gain muscle and burn fat while enjoying some of the most enjoyable activities of the summer. Whether you want an intense workout at the beach or a casual walk along the coastline, your body will appreciate the benefit of a beach workout. Beach workouts are so much fun you’ll forget you’re exercising! Once you realize you can tone your whole body while breathing in fresh air and being serenaded by gulf waves, you may not want to go to an indoor gym again!

                    Before You Start
Let’s brush up on a little beach workout safety. Take note of beach safety warning flags posted at public beaches before entering the water. Always wear sunscreen when working out at the beach, and remember to stay hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink 16-20 ounces (about 2 large glasses) of water about an hour before hitting the beach, and be sure to drink constantly (about every 15 minutes) while working out. Every drop you sweat out during your beach workout needs to be replenished to avoid dehydration or heatstroke. If you start to feel dizzy or faint at any time during your workout, gently lower yourself to a sitting position on the sand, and pause for some deep breaths, a rest, and plenty of water. Try not to schedule your beach workout during the midday hours between 11am and 2pm, when the sun and the temperatures are at their highest and hottest. Scheduling an early morning or late afternoon/evening workout helps you lower your risk of dehydration and heatstroke. Besides, there’s something about watching the sun rise or set over the water that’s just truly inspiring.

Getting Started
Now that we’re safe and hydrated, let’s warm up. I’m sure the thought of warming up when you’re already sweating on a summer day may seem redundant, but it’s crucial to give your muscles a good warm up so that they’re at peak flexibility before you start pushing them to the next level. It’s a different training mode; expect your body to react differently to a beach workout. Begin your routine with a brief 5-10 minute stroll to gently raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing. This smart practice will banish stiffness, lessen your chances of injury, and reduce the soreness you’ll feel after your workout is done.
Did You Know?
It is estimated that vigorous beach walks burn 20-50 percent more calories than similar paced hard surface walks. Sand provides an uneven and shifting surface, which makes working out on it more challenging. Your body has to work harder to balance, and as a result you burn more calories and give your entire body, especially the core, a great workout. There’s also less impact on your joints when you do running and jumping in the sand versus hard surfaces, so you’re less prone to injury.

Ready For A Challenge?
Anyone who’s seen the movie Chariots of Fire will be familiar with the notorious scene featuring the young men running parallel to the beach at the water’s edge. If you’re looking for a great beach workout that’s a ton of fun, you can do the very same thing. Go out into the water until it’s a little less than knee-deep and run in 40 yard to 100 meter dashes. The added resistance from the water really challenges your muscles and your lungs while giving you an excellent workout. Try 4-6 repeats in various distances or aim for 30-60 second bursts.

Photo from Florida-Beach-Lifestyle.com
Interval Training For The Heart And Soul
Interval training improves your heart’s muscle strength and response time, lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke, and it’s a massive calorie-burner. Here’s what you do: Hit the sand and walk for 3 minutes, then run for 1. Aim for a total of 20-30 minutes of interval training when you start your beach workout and up the length of time by one interval per week as you continue. This kind of interval training burns over 250 calories per hour, and the fitter you get, the longer you’ll be able to keep it up for.
Image from OceanReefResorts.com

Jump In!
Swimming not only feels amazingly refreshing on a hot summer day, but it also gives you a solid full-body workout. As an important safety tip, always make sure you are swimming within view of a lifeguard. No matter your swim skill level, fighting the waves allow all your muscle groups to work together as you fight the natural tides. This can be really fun too! As an added bonus, the natural floating you experience from being buoyed by the water reduces joint strain during this portion of your workout. This low-impact exercise can burn more than 350 calories per hour!

Cool Down
When your workout is over, take the time to cool down, gently lowering your heart rate back to normal and enjoying the endorphin rush of a job well done. Take a 5-10 minute stroll along the shoreline, sipping water as you go. This helps your heart recover from the exertion, and helps prevent soreness-causing lactic acid from building up in your muscles after your beach workout.
You’ve worked hard. Lay out your beach towel or pull up your favorite chair and enjoy the day. Soak up some sun, listen to the waves as they gently break over the shore. Take a deep breath of salty, sea air and just unwind – You’ve earned it.

Other fun ways to work out on the beach

YOLO or SUP boarding


Beach Volleyball

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