Exercises to Look and Feel Great On the Beach

If you are going to be spending some time at the beach in August to close out your summer, use the sand and water to stay in shape with the myriad activities you can do to tone and stretch your body. Below are quick, easy, and efficient ways to develop your core strength, stretch, tone your arms, and burn calories. Any or all of them will enhance your body, self-esteem, and enjoyment of the beach. When doing the exercises below, you should find the flattest part of the beach. 20-minutes of any of the these beach fitness workouts will improve your body and your well-being.

Core:

Bicycle Sit-ups: Lay down on your towel, place your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the side and start cycling away. Bring one knee towards your chest whilst extending the other leg, while meeting the knee with the opposite elbow. Switch from side to side. Make sure to keep your chest open with the elbow behind you remaining as expansive as is possible. Get full extension of the leg that is straightening. Do 30 repetitions.

Leg Lifts: Laying on your back with both legs outstretched, place one heel between the big and second toe of the other foot. Your arms should be straight along your hips palms face down. Elevate your legs (keeping them in full extension) over your pelvic bowl as you inhale, exhale lower your bottom heel to a hover above the ground (you’ll feel the point at which to stop when your core is maximally engaged). Do 10 repetitions.

Lateral External Oblique Waistline Crunches: Keeping your legs in the same position as for your leg lifts, with a big toe hooked a heel roll onto your right side so that you can bend your right elbow and rest your head in your palm. Place your left fingertip onto the ground in front of your chest (sternum). Press your left fingers into the ground and lift your right elbow off the floor to crunch your waistline. Pulse 20 times keeping your feet planted on your towel and your elbow off the ground. Roll over and switch sides. Do 10-20 repetitions on each side.

Fun Exercises You Can Do With Or Without Kids

Build A Sand Castle Or Dig A Hole To Stretch And Tone. 
  • Even while building a sand castle, you can  choose positions that will maximize the opening of your hips, knees and legs.
  • Squat. For different effects your knees can be together or you can separate them hips distance apart or wider.
  • Sit in a side split making the letter V.
  • Sit with the sole of one foot on the ground and your other shin and foot tucked under your buttock or just beside your hip.
  • In all of these positions, because of the activities you will be doing, you can also get quite an arm and core toning session in. Whether using a shovel or your hands moving, scooping, patting, packing, molding, and dripping sand, are all pretty intense core and bicep/triceps workouts if you are not being lazy about your project!
Draw Pictures In The Sand

You don’t have to be an artist. Make hearts, animals, houses whatever! It doesn’t matter but drawing in the sand is fun!

If you do this with your legs spread at least hip’s distance apart or wider (3 feet) and then bend down to use your fingers as your markers, you will feel awesome stretching of your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back (keep your legs as straight as is possible with your quads engaged). You’ll also get some nice leg toning in as you move around the sand (which works both the micro and macro muscles of your legs) to complete your picture and head onto your next piece of art. I did this with my daughter racing through pictures and onto the next for quite some time. It was feel-good exhausting!

Play In The Water

There’s nothing more fun that hoisting a child up over waves (ha!). Whether the child is your own, a family member’s, or that of a friend, picking kids up to clear rolling waves is an amazing workout for your legs, core, arms and shoulders. It will also help you to establish better balance. Diving through waves, body surfing, and playing around in the waves is all great to tone your body and for your heart to pump away. The softness of the sand and resistance of the water always requires many smaller and larger muscle groups to get to work.

Cardio Activities:
  • Take a long stroll or walk (obviously the faster you go the more calories you will burn).
  • Jog or Run.
  • Sprint. It’s fun to do short races with your kids or friends walking in between each one.
  • Bike if the sand is hard enough.
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Play beach games (i.e. volley ball, paddle ball, Frisbee).
Yoga

You may view the poses in my glossary here. Here are a few yoga postures I like to do at the beach. You want to be careful because sand is unstable ground, but these yoga poses are usually safe if you are focused and paying attention to what you are doing. You must not compromise your alignment just because you are without your mat, in a studio, or at home. You can do what I offer as individual poses, a few poses as a mini sequence, or of course a whole short practice. You can even just bust out 10 or even 20 sun breaths or salutations depending on what you hope to accomplish.

For Beginners:
  • Sun Breaths
  • Standing chest opener with hands interlaced and knuckles drawing towards the sand
  • Warrior II
  • Side Angle
  • Triangle
  • Fan
  • Twisting Chair
  • Child’s Pose
  • Camel
  • Seated Twist
  • Seated forward bend with one leg bent and hip externally rotated (Janu Sirsasana)
The Intermediate/Advanced Yogi Can Also Add:
  • Sun Salutations
  • Side Split (Upavista Konasana)
  • Front Splits or half splits (Hanumanasana)
  • Pigeon
  • Full Wheel
  • Headstand (for the advanced yogi only and make sure that you have this as a very strong practice)
  • Corpse

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