If you want to take up a new type of workout, there’s nowhere better than the beach. With sprawling stretches of sand and the ocean on your doorstep, the possibilities are endless. Whether you want to lose weight, tone your muscles, or simply just get a little more active, there is an activity that will improve your physical and/or mental health at the beach.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the best activities to improve your health and fitness on the beach. Which one is your favourite?
Stand up Paddleboarding
Let’s start with one of the most popular water sports in the world. Stand up paddle boarding is a fairly new sport, the modern incarnation having been invented in Hawaii in the 1940s. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a flatwater beach that doesn’t have a SUP rental or lessons service!
The health and fitness benefits to stand up paddle boarding never seem to end. Despite being a low impact sport, it works pretty much every muscle in your body, focusing specifically on your core. The challenge on your core means that it’s one of the quickest ways to build up a six pack or abs of steel.
Not only that, because your legs and back keep you upright on the board, but your balance will also improve. All the while, your arms and shoulders are propelling you through the water to build muscle strength there.
If all that’s not enough, you’ll be paddling at a rate which burns more calories than your average walk. It’s not the most intense sport (unless you do SUP touring or surfing) but it’s hard not to fall in love with this chilled-out way of working out. And to cap it all off, it’s great for your mental health too!
PS: Your dog will love SUP too. Don’t forget to get your pup a dog life jacket!
Though similar to stand up paddle boarding, SUP yoga deserves a place of its own on this list. It shares many of the health benefits that you’ll get from regular SUP, but this one is really great for your flexibility and mental health too.
Yogic breathing improves your circulation, warding off heart disease and strokes in later life, while easing stress and helping you to find peace in the present moment. Slowing down your cognitive functions is perfect for relaxation!
While this might all sound very zen and blissed out (it is), your body and mind are still being challenged. To master yogic breathing and perform yoga poses, it takes huge levels of concentration. You’ll be rewarded with a dopamine hit in your brain though!
One recommendation before taking part in SUP yoga would be to have at least some knowledge of the basics of one or both sports before having a go. It’s not as relaxing as you topple off your board into the water!
Next, here’s another board sport. Surfing is even more popular than stand up paddle boarding (at least for now), and it’s another workout for your entire body. Shoulder and back strength will improve by engaging these muscles while paddling out, and leg and core strength will increase from standing up on the board and hopefully staying there! Paddling also helps with cardiovascular fitness.
As a weight loss exercise, surfing is pretty handy too. You can burn anywhere from 500 – 1,000 calories per hour of surfing. Like we mentioned earlier about SUP yoga, it’s a big physical and mental challenge, especially if you’re just starting off. So, expect plenty of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins making you happy as you hit the waves!
The thing that might be putting you off about surfing and stand up paddle boarding is the equipment. It can be expensive to kit yourself out – or awkward to carry things from home. No such worries when it comes to swimming. All you need is a swimsuit, maybe a set of goggles, and you’re good to go!
Swimming is a fantastic activity during a day out at the beach. Not only is it low impact, but it is a full-body workout and a great cardio activity too. And lots of beaches have designated swimming areas!
Sure, you can swim at your local pool, but it’s so much better when you’re surrounded by nature. Just be sure to check for any dangerous currents or weather conditions before you take to the water.
Take a walk
Another beach activity that doesn’t require any specialised kit is a simple yet rewarding walk. Long walks on the beach don’t have to be romantic – you can do them alone or with the entire family!
You may notice that walking on sand feels more difficult than when you’re walking through your hometown or in the park – and that’s because ligaments, muscles, and tendons all have to work harder. This is especially true of soft and dry sand.
If you want to push yourself, try going for a run on the beach. It works your tendons and muscles in the same way but even harder.
Whether running or walking, be sure that if you’re barefoot you watch out for stones and shells. They can really sting!