December holidays are around the corner – and who wants to spend hours in an air-conditioned gym when you can be lazing around in the sun, sand and surf? Luckily, the beach is the ultimate training environment. The sand provides a natural resistance and reduces impact throughout the body, while the ocean allows for a full body workout.
TRY THESE 5 EXERCISES THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE AT THE BEACH:
1. Soft sand running
Soft sand running is the original and best beach exercise. Running in soft sand expends 1.5 times more energy than running on the road, while also helping to reduce impact on the ankles, knees and hips.
How to do it: Break up periods of soft sand running at a slower pace with faster pace running on the hard sand. This form of interval training will amp up the intensity and help you to burn more calories.
2. Bodyweight jump squats
Jump squats are great beach exercises, as they help to improve lower body strength and power. The soft sand allows for an increased degree of difficulty, as well as improvements in balance and joint stability.
How to do it: Place your fingers on the back of your head and pull your elbows back so that they’re in line with your body. Dip your knees and explosively jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the sand and jump again.
3. Surfer get-ups
Surfer get-ups are the burpees of the beach. It’s not only a great full-body exercise – it will also help aspiring surfers get out of the water and on their boards quicker and easier.
How to do it: Start on the ground in a low plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your belly touching the sand. Push up from the ground and jump into a squatting position with the right leg in front of the left, as if you’re balancing on a surf board. Remember to squeeze your glutes and engage the core. Return to the original plank position and repeat with your left leg in front of the right for the surf stance.
4. Bear crawls
Bear crawls are an excellent conditioning exercise. While it looks deceptively easy, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it will have your arms, shoulders and quads burning. Add some soft sand into the mix, and you will be sweating and breathing heavily in no time.
How to do it: Start on all fours, brace your abs in tight and lift your hips slightly to raise your knees off the floor. Propel yourself on all fours without allowing your knees to touch the ground.
5. Ocean swimming
Swimming is one of the best exercises to work out the entire body. And because more muscles are being used, you burn more kilojoules in a shorter amount of time.
How to do it: Start slow, go at a pace that you can manage comfortably and focus on rhythm. Build up your total distance over time. If open-water swimming isn’t your thing, you’ll still get plenty of exercise catching waves and body boarding the day away.
- Try exercising with bare feet to give your feet and ankles a workout. But if you have a history of weak ankles, wear shoes.
- Always wear sun protection.
- Don’t forget to drink water.
- Check your training area for any sharp objects or other hidden nasties.