Picture this: the sound of waves breaking along the beach. The array of beautiful bodies strolling along its edge. The bouquet of seawater and fresh air. The penetrating mist dancing on your skin. Now, picture yourself getting off your arse and having one of the best workouts you’ll have all summer.
The beach is an untapped reservoir of sweaty, butt-kicking potential.
Working out in sand is a treat I try to bestow upon all of my clients when I find out they are beach-bound for vacation. Have you ever tried to tip-toe in soft sand? Walk backwards? Your calves will scream at you for it (in gratitude, of course). Plyometrics will never look the same. Muscle confusion abounds.
One of my favorite exercises in the sand is called the “plank drag”: from a push-up position, dig your toes deeply into soft sand. Once secure, walk forward with your hands while maintaining the integrity of your plank, dragging your feet behind you. Fun stuff.
Or, how about Sand Tabata? Take any of the already-grueling exercises you know (and love) and translate them to the unpredictable terrain. Burpees, frog jumps, and “plunges” will take on a whole new meaning. Remember, Tabata intervals run twenty seconds-on, ten seconds-off for eight rounds.
Let’s talk about the enormous benefits of taking your gym workout to the beachy outdoors. Because sand absorbs nearly all impact, your muscles overload with the responsibility of rebounding with very little assistance. Low impact also means your joints won’t suffer later. According to a study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology, those who ran on beach sand burned between 1.2 and 1.8 times more calories per run than those running on a flat, hard surface. Think of what that means for strength training- it takes far more energy to perform the same number of reps you busted out in your last workout in the gym.
Balance is also a huge gain to be made from sand fitness. Most of us struggle with balance (and it’s not always the beer’s fault). Sand training will help not only by strengthening your feet, ankles, and calves, but also by improving communication between these muscle groups to better assist you in the real world. When we balance, our core muscles become alert, resulting in rapid-fire contractions in order to keep us upright.
Not planning to visit a beach any time soon? Not to worry. 303 Magazine is hosting the biggest pool party of the year complete with wakeboarding and more sand than you can handle. Check out the link for details.
Give it a try, you will love it and your body will thank you. Just be ready to draw envious stares with your newfound sand skills.
PS: Don’t forget your sunscreen.
Jodilyn Stuart is the owner of ModaBody Fitness and has been a fitness professional since 1997. She has recently begun contributing to 303 Magazine as a fitness writer.