When you’re on holiday, working out is probably the last thing you want to do. A week of relaxing on the beach isn’t going to undo all the progress you’ve made in the gym. It’s your time to kick up your feet and indulge in a few not-so-healthy meals.
That being said, your margarita will taste a lot sweeter when you know that it’s been well-earned through a butt-kicking workout. If you want to keep your muscles looking toned on your next vacation, there are plenty of workouts you can do on the beach—no gym equipment required.
Before you start breaking a sweat on the beach, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from sun damage by wearing sunscreen and reapplying as needed. Additionally, sweat and sunscreen can clog the pores of your skin, so be sure to use a daily moisturizer with SPF for your face to reduce acne breakouts.
- Stretching: Remember to do a few dynamic stretches to warm up your muscles before exercising, as well as static stretches after your workout.
- Footwear: While going barefoot on the beach can provide muscle-building benefits, the risk of glass or sharp shells may not outweigh the benefits of going shoeless.
Ready to torch calories and cool down with a guilt-free, refreshing cocktail? Here are some total-body beach workouts that will have you tightened and toned in no time.
Sprint interval workouts are an effective way to build muscle, improve speed and crank up your metabolism. Add sand into the mix, and the benefits of sprinting become even more pronounced.
Best of all, sprinting, in general, can help you achieve the same heart-healthy benefits as a longer run on the beach, but in less time. In a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Physiology, sprint intervals were found to improve arterial structure and function at the same rate as longer endurance workouts.
In other words, you’ll spend less time working up a sweat and more time sipping on that well-deserved margarita. Here is what you need to do:
Sandy Sprint Workout:
- Choose a sandy area that isn’t wet and sprint as fast as you can for a full 30 seconds.
- Rest for 30 seconds, walking around on the beach.
- Repeat the exercise five times.
While bear crawls may look like fun, they are a deceivingly intense workout, especially on sand. That could explain why buff celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth are big fans of this bodyweight exercise.
Bear crawls work your legs, core and upper body for a calorie-blasting, total-body workout. Do the following bear crawl workout and you may earn a quesadilla on top of your margarita:
Bear Crawl Workout
- Get down on your knees and put your hands on the sand. Pop up on your toes to get into the bear crawl position.
- Move your right hand forward, followed by your left foot. Keep your back straight and hips low to the ground.
- Do the same movement, but with opposite hands and feet by moving your left hand forward, followed by your right foot.
- Now, go backwards using the same technique. Do five pushups and start the process again for a total of five bear crawls.
Swimming in the Ocean
With its incredibly strong currents, the ocean provides the perfect resistance-training workout. A regular swimming workout will work your entire body and engage muscles you didn’t even know you had.
Swimming in the ocean comes with an additional bonus: It may be good for your skin. According to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, bathing in the magnesium-rich ocean waters can improve skin barrier function and hydrate the skin.
While it shouldn’t replace your regular skin care routine, it’s worth keeping in mind as you do the following swim workout:
- Wade into the ocean and swim for three minutes against the current, followed by a minute with the current. Do this exercise five times without resting.
- Rest for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise above.
- Rest for one minute and swim for 15 minutes against the current before heading back to shore.
Want to show off your visibly toned abs? Rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and practice some yoga moves on it. SUP yoga is an excellent way to work your core while connecting with nature and practising mindfulness.
While you don’t need to be a yogi to give this SUP yoga a try, you may want to take a SUP yoga class to reap the full benefits. If you want to skip the instructor and just have fun on your board, follow this core-tightening workout:
SUP Yoga Workout
- Ease into your workout with easy poses, such as a seated pose and child’s pose. Take deep breaths from your abdominal area, paying attention to nothing but the gentle rocking of the ocean and sounds coming from the beach.
- Practice lunge variations on your board. Start from a standing forward bend (Uttanasana) and place both hands on the board in front of you. Step your right foot back into a lunge before slowly raising your hands to the sky. Repeat with the other foot.
- From downward dog pose, move into a plank pose. To make it more challenging, extend one arm forward and hold it for 10 seconds, alternating between right and left.
Run Up and Down Stairs
Most beaches have steps that lead to the ocean. Why not use them for a high-intensity, plyometric workout?
Running stairs helps build speed and muscle while providing significant heart health benefits as well. According to a 2016 study published in BMJ, stair exercises were found to lower blood sugar levels in subjects diagnosed with type two diabetes.
To beat the crowds, do this beach stairs workout early in the morning:
Beach Stairs Workout
- Run up the beach stairs at a moderate pace. Go back down the steps and do 10 pushups.
- Rest for 15 seconds.
- Run up the stairs again, taking the steps two at a time. Go back down the steps and hold a 45-second plank.
- Rest for 15 seconds.
- Run up the stairs once more, taking steps one at a time. Go back down the steps and do 10 more pushups.
- Repeat the three rounds for a second time.
Getting Fit on the Beach
Working out on a beach is one of the best ways to get fit and toned for the summer. Not only does it provide a softer surface that’s easier on your joints, it also makes your workouts more challenging.
Sand is an unstable surface, which means that your muscles will naturally work harder to stabilize your body as the sand gives way underneath your feet. The result is a total body workout that engages all your muscles. Perform one of these intense beach workouts and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a guilt-free beer or cocktail later.