At the Beach — July 3, 2014 at 5:00 am

6 Great Beach Workouts

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Consider the beach nature’s most awesome gym. Cardio, strength training, yoga… it’s all available to you on the shore. Open skies mean no gross gym smell, there will never be a lineup for the popular equipment, and you’ll never have to worry about someone else’s sweat. Sound like something you could get used to? Read on to discover 6 amazing beach workouts.

Swimming
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this fabulously beach-appropriate workout right off the bat. Swimming is low-impact, builds muscle mass, improves cardiovascular function, and it really can’t be beat on a hot summer’s day. Keep things easy by using a kick board or challenge yourself by working on perfecting your breaststroke or butterfly. Always be mindful of the water conditions (for instance, areas with strong undertows should be avoided) and remember that even though you’re surrounded by water, you need to keep hydrated.

Running
Running on the beach is a pleasure that everyone ought to experience at least once in their life. The combination of feeling the sand on your bare feet while you sweat alongside lapping waves is virtually impossible to beat. Ideally, you’ll  head out at low tide when the sand is packed and makes for an easier running surface. The cooling effects of the water are an added bonus—no one likes running on scorching hot sand. If you’re keen on a high intensity workout, try running on soft sand. Because it gives with every footfall, you’ll feel every muscle in your legs work like they’ve never worked before. Wear a hat to avoid glare and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Yoga
Think of beach yoga as taking your practice to the next level. The soft sand that is so perfect for lounging on adds a whole new dimension to even the most basic yoga poses. If you think you’ve mastered tree, wait until you try it on constantly shifting sand. Same goes for plank, downward dog… all of them, really. Expect to work muscles you aren’t used to working and give yourself permission to stumble. Yoga is all about self-discovery and what better way to embark on this journey than amidst some of Mother Nature’s finest work? Namaste!

Volleyball
In addition to being a really fun way to spend an afternoon, beach volleyball is an incredible workout that burns fat, builds muscle, increases flexibility, and fine-tunes agility. Grab a couple friends (or strangers who won’t be strange for long) and start serving. Whether you’re a dextrous athlete with exquisite hand-eye coordination or can barely keep the ball off the sand, you’re going to get an awesome workout and have a lot of fun doing it. An added perk to this already awesome sport is that injuries are extremely rare, meaning you can spike fearlessly.

Surfing
Spend some time hanging out with surfers and chances are you’ll notice one major consistency: they’re a majorly blissed out bunch. Who wouldn’t be, though, spending hours on the water getting up close and personal with the ocean? In addition to being an incredible way to find your best head space, surfing is a great way to work on your cardio, strength, balance, and endurance. Whether you’re a seasoned wave rider or are just starting out, surfing is the perfect way to combine health and happiness. Peace, love, and hang ten.

Walking
We all know that walking is good for us and that we ought to incorporate as much of it into our day as possible. What could be easier than taking this simple, gentle form of exercise to the sand? Whether you make it a group activity or prefer to head out solo, walking is a wonderful way to get your blood pumping all while enjoying fresh air and hefty doses of vitamin D. You don’t need anything to beach walk except for yourself, so there’s no excuse. Reapply your suntan lotion and get out there!

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