It’s beach season, and most of us have been pretending to prepare ourselves both physically and mentally for stepping out onto the sand and not flashing back to the extra slice/ entire pumpkin pie we ate last winter.
Even if you haven’t met your goals, the beach is a great place to keep reaching for and maintaining your ideal fitness level this the summer. No matter your desired intensity, there are a variety of beach friendly exercises to suit your personal needs. Here are three exercises that benefit from this beautiful location.
Running in soft sad expends 1.5 times the energy it takes to run on a road or path. Due to the sinking of every step, more effort is required to propel you forward. It also promotes increased stability and overall strengthening in the lower half of your body.
- To utilize sometimes neglected inner and outer thigh muscles, run in an extended zigzag pattern on the beach. Running at angles and slightly changing directions will challenge your body. Plus, it won’t get boring.
- If running in the soft sand becomes too much for you, alternate between soft sand and hard wet sand to give yourself a break while keeping your heart rate up.
- If you have problems with weak ankles be sure to wear shoes that meet your support needs. Otherwise, kick off those shoes and get going. Running barefoot will strengthen your ankle stability and engage the muscles in your feet.
Circuit training is also another great way to take advantage of what’s around you.
- Develop a series of exercises that keep you moving.
10 walking lunges: 10 pushups: 10 walking lunges: 10 crunches/situps: 10 plyo lunges (jumping in place between individual lunges: plank hold for 30 seconds and rest. Repeat in other direction.
- Use what’s around you. Do you see a bench, a hill, some stairs. These are great tools to integrate into your workout.
Pilates is a great no hassle way to work out on the beach. Promoting body awareness and control, pilates creates a lean strong body through basic conscious movement and controlled breathing (exhale with effort, inhale on return) while engaging your core. Pilates’ exercises are meant to be modified to fit the fitness level of an individual, so work at your own pace.
Some basic exercises to build on:
- Beginning on your back with legs bent and feet in line with your sits bones, place your hands behind your head (elbows wide) to support it. Keeping a neutral pelvis, exhale and use your stomach muscles to pull your belly button in and raise your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Rest a moment and Repeat.
- Exhale again lifting your shoulder blades, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground, pulse 10 times with small contractions of your stomach muscles and release. Rest and Repeat.
- After release, keep your back neutral, raise your legs and bend them 90 degrees. With arms out for stability
only, keeping yourshoulder blades on the ground and legs together, move your legs from side to side
while engaging your abs 10 times and return to neutral. Rest andRepeat.
- From the same relaxed position on your back, bring your feet together and raise your hips off the floorcreating a straight
line between shoulders and knees and hold for 10 seconds.From here you can straighten one leg at a time keeping your
thighs together 5 times each leg. Rest and Repeat.
Another fantastic thing to do, especially if you have trouble with motivation or need a little guidance, is to join a class. There are tons of groups that meet out on the beach for runs, circuit training, pilates, and much more. Look up what’s going on locally and find a class that’s right for you.
Tips For Beach Workouts
- Avoid peak hours. Do your workouts in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at its hottest. Anywhere between 11am and 2pm can be dangerous when it comes to dehydration and exhaustion.
- Bring a water bottle. You will be sweating if you’re doing it right, replenishing your body with water will keep you from feeling awful or getting sick. Make sure you’re drinking every 10 to 15 minutes to keep up. Plus you can use it as extra weight in your workout activities. Crunches anyone?
- Wear sunscreen. Exposure to the sun can be incredibly harmful to your body. We do need the vitamin D it gives us, but we don’t want damaged leathery skin that can turn cancerous later on. The tan is just not worth it.
- Warm up before anything else. Take a short walk to get your muscles warm and stretch them out to avoid strain or injury.
Now you have no excuse. Beaches are not just for tanning and light reading anymore. Get active, take care of yourself and have fun!
For more great exercises and fitness tips visit Advanced Physical Medicine.