Have you ever been on vacation and really wanted to keep up with your workout routine, but somehow you kept ending up lazing by the beach instead of grinding it out in the resort fitness center? No judgments – the call of a beautiful beach is quite alluring and you shouldn’t have to choose between staying in good physical shape and enjoying your getaway. Besides, working out on the sand offers benefits you won’t get in a traditional gym setting. The shifting nature of sand beneath your feet, as with any other uneven or unstable surface, causes you to engage core muscles to maintain stability and also recruits smaller, infrequently used muscles that help you to keep your balance. Plus, the calming view of the seemingly endless ocean and sky will boost your emotional well-being, too.
Yes, the activity that many of us once did with abandon as children is a bona fide calorie torcher at the beach. Skipping on the sand engages your muscles differently than traditional running. Do a couple of shuttles back and forth between sets of the toning exercises to keep your cardio up. If skipping feels a tad too grade school for you, sprints are a great alternative. Go barefoot to get your tootsies in on the action.
You can start these from a standing position by jumping into the air and landing in a squat, or start from a squat position and jump up. The trick is to continue until fatigue, which won’t be as long as you think. Remember to keep your knees soft and go slowly at first until you get the hang of it. You can also do plié-style jump squats by starting on your tiptoes with heels touching, toes turned outward at a 45 degree angle, and then jumping up and landing with your feet still turned out but more than shoulder-width apart and lowering into a squat. Push back up through your heels and jump your feet back together on your tiptoes to complete the rep. You’ll feel this variation most in those hard-to-tone inner thighs.
The good news here is that the sand will feel softer on your joints, allowing you to get a good stretch and go deep as you step forward, bend at the knee and lower until your thigh is parallel to the ground and the knee of your back leg is almost touching the sand. The challenge here is recruiting all the muscles needed to keep you from falling over! Repeat at least 10 times before switching legs.
While all of the previous exercises will cause you to use your abdominal muscles, this move is designed to target your core to help you score an enviable set of washboard abs. Get into a plank position (on your hands, not your elbows) and use your hands and feet to move you forward. Start with 30 second spurts working up to a minute. You can try this moving sideways and backwards for a change.
This move will activate your upper body muscles. Start by bending over at the waist and touch your hands to the floor. Walk your hands away from your feet until you are lowered into plank position. Perform one pushup. Then walk your feet towards your hands to finish the rep. Begin again by walking your hands out until you’re in plank position. Aim for 6 to 10 reps.
In addition, the beach is a perfect place to do yoga, so if your hotel offers it, sign up for a class or two. If not, even some gentle stretching, a series of sun salutations and some chanting or meditation will offer great benefits as you take advantage of the abundance of clean, fresh air to deeply inhale and exhale your stresses away. And we guarantee, you’ll feel a lot less guilty about indulging in all those beachside piña coladas!
by Tuere Randall