Sand and Surf Exercise

Six great beach workouts.

Summer is the best time to be at the beach, but the beauty of the ocean can be enjoyed any time of year. Whenever you choose to hit the beach, the sandy shore and water offer wonderful opportunities for physical activity. People watching, wildlife sightings, the sound of the surf, the breeze, and cool water are just a few of the perks that come along with a beach workout.

Don’t miss out on all the beach has to offer this year. And remember, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you get a vacation from exercise. Rather than relaxing in the sand all day, get moving and try one, or more, of these six great workouts.

#1: Swim

Unless there’s a danger of sharks or rip tide, swimming is an obvious way to exercise at the beach. It’s easy on the joints and provides a total body workout. Find two landmarks and swim laps back and forth between them, parallel to shore. For safety, go with a friend or tell a friend on shore to keep an eye on you.

#2: Catch a Wave

Surfing or boogie boarding are two fun ways to get exercise in the waves. If you don’t know how to surf, sign up to take a lesson. It’s not as easy as it looks and takes practice, agility, strength, and balance. Paddling around on a surfboard is a powerful upper body workout while kicking to catch a wave on a boogie board is a great lower body workout.

#3: Kayak/Canoe

If you’d rather be on top of the water instead of in it, you may enjoy burning calories on a kayak or canoe. Many beaches offer kayak or canoe rentals for hourly or daily fees. Paddle around for an hour and you’ll feel the burn in your shoulders, arms, chest, and back.

#4: Walk/Run

The beach is the perfect location for a long walk or run in the hard sand by the water’s edge, the softer, dry sand; or even in the shallow water. Exercise in the soft sand is easy on the joints, strengthens your calves, and is good for your arches, but don’t expect to run at your normal pace. Soft sand adds resistance to your steps, thereby increasing the intensity of your exercise and potential calorie burn. In fact, walking in soft sand takes at least twice as much energy (which translates to twice as many calories) as walking on a hard surface. Run on the pavement after a run in the soft sand and you’ll feel how much easier it becomes.

Walking or running in the water parallel to the shore is another way to add resistance to your workout because your legs work extra hard to move through the water.

#5: Play a Game

Who said exercise isn’t fun? Make memories while you torch calories with a vigorous game of beach volleyball, Frisbee, or paddleball. Find a partner or gather a team and get competitive. An hour of beach volleyball can burn more than 500 calories and an hour of Frisbee can get rid of as many as 150.

#6: Do Bodyweight Exercises

You may draw attention to yourself on a crowded beach, but if that doesn’t bother you go ahead and stay active with bodyweight exercises. Planks, push-ups, crunches, squats, burpees, and lunges become more challenging in the sand, increasing calorie burn.