The beach is for lounging, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s also for getting sweaty, burning calories and building strength! But we can’t lie, the best part about working out at the beach is the post-exercise reward — an afternoon in the sun with a cold one. Whether it be a group beach game or classic bodyweight exercise, getting your sweat on at the beach can be extremely satisfying and even fun.
Why Work Out at the Beach?
From the ground up (quite literally), workouts are a great option for a number of reasons. Though soft and enjoyable while relaxing, sand is actually an incredible tool for working out and can help us build some serious strength and endurance.
When compared to working out on hard ground or surfaces such as grass, sand is gentler on the joints but still provides a challenging workout. The softness of the sand means more “give,” which requires muscles to use more energy for the same result achieved on hard ground. This can help condition with less stress on the joints and muscles.
On top of that, working out at the beach provides you with the undeniable thrill and mood boost of spending time in the outdoors. The fresh air and vitamin D bring just what you need to push yourself further and take complete advantage of that always-delightful runner’s high.
Ready to give it a go? Here are some workouts that we think are way better at the beach!
- Crossnet—We all know volleyball is better at the beach. That’s why the beach version is a literal Olympic sport. But regular old volleyball can get a tad boring and predictable, so try spicing it up with a game of Crossnet. This uber-fun portable beach game involves a volleyball, an X-shaped net and four participants, creating a game that has been described as a cross between volleyball and four square. This is a great way to get your cardio in and your endurance up.
- Sand Sprints—For the reasons we mentioned above, taking your sprints off the hard ground and onto the sand can be an excellent tool for low-body conditioning. Here’s the caveat: You won’t be able to go as fast as you would on hard ground, but that’s OK! The goal isn’t speed, it’s endurance and muscle strength.
- Water Running—Water, like sand, provides plenty of resistance without being too tough on the joints, muscles and ligaments in your body. In fact, deep water running — the act of slowly running in a pool — is often used for injury recovery in athletes. Otherwise known as aqua jogging, this activity is relatively straightforward. Simply head out into calm waters where you can barely touch and then jog in place.
- Bucket Hauling—If you’re hanging out at the beach with kids, you probably brought some makeshift workout equipment with you without even knowing it! Your standard sandcastle buckets make awesome accoutrements for building strength, muscle and stamina at the beach. All you have to do is fill them up with wet sand and haul them to and from the water. No need to haul heavy weights out to the beach!
- Beach Running—Running on the beach is a fun way to shake up your typical cardio routine. Because it features so many varying surfaces — from the ultra-soft fluffy stuff to the hard-packed sand by the water — it keeps every mile interesting. Naturally, running in soft sand will slow you down and present more of a challenge, but it’s a great way to mix things up if you’re bored with the standard route.
- Beach Cycling—Biking on the beach is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and build a little strength in the lower body. The most important thing to know about this activity is that you should use a bike with beach wheels, known as a beach cruiser. This will help you effortlessly glide through the hard and soft sand so you can go further down the beach.
- Bodyweight Exercises—It’s easy to forget that the most effective exercises are often the simplest! But a change of scenery may be all you need to kick otherwise basic movements into high gear so you’re not bored. Some of the best full-body exercises to do on the beach include burpees, bear crawls, push-ups, kickbacks, planks and lunges. You might consider packing a resistance band to up the ante!
- Beach Yoga—Yoga is all about connecting the body with the mind, and practicing in a serene environment can really help you heighten that experience. Many beach communities offer public yoga classes on the beach, but if you can’t find a group to join, you can always use your cell phone and follow along via YouTube or your preferred fitness platform.
- Toss the Frisbee—Partner up with someone who also wants to have a little fun while getting fit. Throwing the football or frisbee is an awesome way to get a little cardio in without it feeling like a workout. Just make sure to toss the frisbee with someone who’s not afraid to send you running. We want to see a few good dive catches!
Whether you’re starting from scratch or are looking for an amazing way to reinvigorate your stale workout, there’s no better option than hitting the sand! The gorgeous views, fresh ocean air and energizing sun can help you push yourself to go the extra mile and crush every one of your fitness goals!