The feeling of sand between your toes, the water touching the shore and the sun beaming down on you. Whether you live there or are on vacation, the beach is a hot spot – literally.
Beaches aren’t just for swimming and lying out in the sun. Beaches can also be a great place for your next workout.
But how do you get started? What kind of clothing should you wear? Should you wear shoes on the beach? Is running on the beach better on dry sand or wet sand?
Pro Tips is here to answer your questions with the help of Alyssa Siwik, a Health Fitness Specialist of Corporate Fitness Works at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Customer Support Center Health Club.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO BEACH WORKOUTS?
Aside from a fantastic view of the ocean, beach workouts provide an increased resistance from the sand.
“It’s an overall harder workout,” Siwik says. “You’re spending more calories, but you can spend less time working out and get the same benefits. Depending on the workout you do, you’re going to work different muscles and different muscle groups.”
Siwik says that plyometric workouts are great beach exercises due to the soft landing. These can include broad jumps, lateral bounds and multi-directional line hops.
For broad jumps:
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise both of your arms in the air.
- Swing your arms behind your hips. At the same time, drive your hips back.
- Push off the ground and jump forward, using your arms and legs to propel you.
- Land in an athletic position with your arms at your sides. Your arms should be in line with your side and torso, with your fingers pointing at a slanted angle toward the ground.
For lateral bounds:
- Start by standing on one leg. Your other leg should be bent and hovering over the sand. Lean your chest forward and drive your hips back.
- Bend your arms and put them in an athletic position, keeping one arm bent at your side and the other in front of your chest.
- Once you’re comfortable and balanced, push off with the leg that’s in contact with the sand. You’ll be jumping toward the opposite side, hence the name “lateral bound.” So, if you’re standing on your right leg, you’ll be jumping to your left, and vice versa.
- Land on the opposite leg. The leg that you pushed off of will now take the place of hovering over the ground. Your arms should return back to the starting position.
For multi-directional line hops:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Your arms should have a slight bend to them and remain close to your side.
- Jump forward two inches and then back to the starting position. You’ll do this in a repeated, quick motion.
- You can also do multi-directional line hops from side to side, jumping again about two inches.
Looking for additional ways to work up a sweat on the sand? Check out our no-equipment beach workout.
RUNNING ON THE BEACH
Running is the most common beach exercise to do. However, it’s not as simple as just taking off on the sand. Running on sand is more difficult than on a hard surface, Siwik says.
“The ground is unstable, and you’re going to have to find that stability and balance to keep going as you’re kicking off,” Siwik says. “When you do this, you’re pushing the sand back.”
There is no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should run with or without shoes. For the runner, it all depends on personal preference.
TIPS TO RUN WITH SHOES
Some runners might be cautious about discarded items on the beach, like glass or plastic. If you decide to wear shoes for your beach run, Siwik says the best type of shoes to wear are water shoes. So, before planning your next run in the sand, learn more about water shoes and why they are important.
TIPS TO RUN WITHOUT SHOES
Siwik personally recommends running without shoes to help with balance.
“Try to kick the shoes off,” Siwik says. “Running on the sand works well because it works stabilizer muscles. With your toe stabilizers, you have room to spread your toes out in the sand. That will help you balance more.”
Another reason Siwik recommends to go barefoot is due to heavier sinking. Runners that wear shoes could sink further into the wet, damp sand.
SHOULD YOU RUN ON WET OR DRY SAND?
Which type of sand is better to run on? Siwick says that soft sand is the best option. Remember to be cautious of the tide, but run where the water has touched the sand.
“You’re sinking in the sand and trying to get out of it,” Siwik says.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING TO THE BEACH?
Moisture-wicking clothing can help keep you cool. And, despite sweating, the fabric can help keep you dry. Before updating your wardrobe, check out these Pro Tips to learn more about the benefits of moisture-wicking clothing. Meanwhile, UV protective clothing can help protect you against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Learn more about UV protective clothing with our guide.
“Working out on the beach is low maintenance,” Siwik says. “Just remember to protect yourself and always wear sunscreen.”
Siwik also expresses the importance of remaining hydrated. Bring a water bottle and, depending on how long you’re planning on working out, a second water bottle. To keep the second water bottle cool, you can bring along a cooler, depending on beach rules.
Don’t forget to pack a towel too. You can use it to wipe off sweat or in case you want to take a dip after your workout. The beach is also a great place for light weights, if you want to incorporate them into your workout.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO GO?
The beach can get hot throughout the day. People come and go with their families and friends. Finding space can be hard among all the beachgoers. So, when is the right time to go for a workout?
Siwik says to go in the morning.
“The temperature isn’t going to be as hot,” she says. “The temperature of the sand gets hot during the day, so that’s a big factor. There’s going to be a lot of people at the beach as well. It’s going to be easier to work out in the morning when there’s less people.”
Now that you know the essentials for a great beach workout, it’s time to have some fun, too. Lost on what to bring for a day at the beach? Get started by finding out what to pack for a day of fun in the sun.