If you are going to be spending time at the beach in August use the sand and sea to get in shape with the many activities you can do to tone and stretch your body while enjoying the fresh air, playing with your kids, and hanging out with your friends. Below are quick, easy, and efficient ways to develop your core strength, stretch and tone your arms and legs, and burn calories on the sand and in the water. Any or all of the exercises I offer will also improve your body, increase your energy, enhance your self-esteem, and add to the enjoyment of your day. Find the flattest part of the beach on which to do the exercises so that your workouts will be safe.
20-minutes or less of any of these beach workouts will improve your body and your well-being!
10-Minute Core Workout
Bicycle Sit-ups: Lie 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 meeting it with the opposite elbow while extending the other leg out in front of you. Switch from side to side. Make sure to keep your chest open with the elbow behind you as expansive as is possible. Get full extension of the leg that is straightening and hug all of its muscles into its bones (contract quads, calf, extend through foot). Do at least 30 repetitions.
Leg Lifts: Lying on your back with both legs outstretched, place one heel between the big and second toe of the other foot. Place your arms along side your hips, palms face down. Elevate your legs, keeping them totally straight, over your pelvic bowl as you inhale, and then as you exhale, lower your bottom heel to a few inches above the ground (you’ll feel the point at which to stop when your core is maximally engaged). Do at least 10 repetitions. You can also simplify this exercise by squeezing the inseams of your legs together all the way to the arches of your feet (forget the big toe thing!).
External Oblique Crunches To Tone And Slim Down Your Waist: Keeping your legs in the same position as they were in for your leg lifts, roll onto your right side so that you can bend your right elbow and rest your head in your palm (like lounging in bed or on a couch). Place your left fingertips onto the ground in front of your chest (sternum) and lift your right elbow off the floor to crunch at your outer waistline (the muscles between the top of your hip and bottom rib). Keeping your feet and left fingers planted on your towel and your right elbow off the ground pulse 10-20 times. Roll over to switch sides.
15-Minutes To Stretch And Tone Your Hips, Knees, Legs And Arms While Building A Sand Castle
While building a sand castle you can assume positions that will stretch your hips, knees, and leg muscles. Here are a few that you can hold and move between!
- Squat (For different effects you can bring your knees together or you can separate them hips distance apart or wider).
- Sit in a side split so that your legs make the letter V.
- Sit with the sole of one foot on the ground knee bent upwards and your other shin and foot tucked under your buttock or just beside your hip. Switch sides.
Whether using a shovel or your hands to scoop, pat, pack, mold, and drip sand, all of the above positions will also allow for pretty intense core and biceps/triceps workouts–that is if you are not being lazy about your project!
15-Minutes To Stretch And Tone Your Legs Drawing Pictures In The Sand
You don’t have to be an artist. Make hearts, animals, houses, flowers, cars, or whatever you fancy. What you create doesn’t matter but drawing in the sand is fun and good for your physical fitness. If you do this with your legs spread at least hip’s distance apart or wider and then bend down to use your fingers as your markers, you will feel fantastic stretching of your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back (for maximum results keep your legs as straight as is possible with your quads engaged, but if you are less flexible, maintain safer alignment by bending your knees). 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 each picture and head onto your next piece of art. I did this with my daughter racing from one pictures to the next for quite some time. It was feel-good exhausting!
20-Minutes Of Play In The Ocean To Enhance Your Balance, Core Strength, Arm Strength and Leg Tone
There’s nothing more fun than 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, chest, back, and shoulders. Playing with waves child or no child will also help you to establish better balance. Diving through waves and body surfing are also great ways to tone your body and to keep your heart pumping away. The softness of the sand and resistance of the water as you move through them always requires many smaller and larger muscle groups to get to work. But you have to keep the movement going if you want true results. Long chit-chat breaks will stymie your efforts!
20-Minute 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).
20-Minutes Of Yoga
Below are a few yoga postures I like to do at the beach. You want to be careful with yoga on the beach because sand is unstable ground. These yoga poses however, are usually safe if you are focused and paying attention to what you are doing (though not for total beginners). 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 postures or as a mini sequence. You can even just bust out 10, 20, or even more sun breaths or sun salutations depending on what you hope to accomplish. Sun salutations will get your circulation going, heart rate to increase, internal heat to build, and metabolism to speed up. In addition sun salutations build strength, flexibility, and increase mobility in almost all aspects of your body.
* Remember to do each asymmetrical posture on both sides.
- Sun Breaths
- Standing chest opener with hands interlaced and knuckles drawing towards the sand
- Warrior II
- Side Angle
- Twisting Chair
- Child’s Pose
- Seated Twist
- Seated forward bend with one leg bent and hip externally rotated (Janu Sirsasana)
- Bound Angle
The Intermediate/Advanced Yogi Can Also Add:
- Sun Salutations As and Bs after sun breaths
- Full Wheel after camel
After bound angle…
- Side Split (Upavista Konasana)
- Front Splits or half splits (Hanumanasana)
You can also read this and other articles on MindBodyGreen