How to Exercise at the Beach

June 26, 2013

To me, there's something romantic about the idea of working out at the beach. In my mind, it’s all about Baywatch bodies glistening with sweat and sailing effortlessly across the sand. In reality, it plays out differently. Even if I hit the sand raring for a hard workout, I don’t know where to start, each of my shoes gets filled with 10 pounds of sand, and when I try to move, I feel like I’m running in place.

Unlike me, Keaira LaShae is an expert in exercising at the beach. The personal trainer, who teaches strength, cardio, and dance classes for  Daily Burn, grew up in Florida and now works in Los Angeles. Her pointers for exercising by the shore:

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Dress for success
Instead of your standard mesh running shoes, which let sand (and extra weight), try swimmer shoes that have some grip on the bottom, LaShae suggests. “They’re really lightweight, the sand doesn’t get in them as much as it might with mesh,” she says. (RELATED: Waterproof Your Workout) While running  barefoot on the beach may sound tempting, don’t attempt it right away. “Sand can be unstable if you’re not used to running without shoes,” she says. Ease into it a little at a time, and make sure you feel steady running on the sand with shoes first. “Once you feel more comfortable, running barefoot is okay,” she says.

Take advantage of your surroundings
Sand can maximize certain workouts. “Exercising on this softer surface results in less impact on your knees than a harder surface," LaShae says. Sand workouts are also more intense because you have to work harder to plant your foot and push it off the ground. And don’t forget about the ocean. “I love to swim and then run and then swim and run,” LaShae says. “It’s crazy cardio.” LaShae alternates 7 minutes on land and 7 minutes in the water (keep in mind that her fitness level is probably more advanced than yours). “You don’t have to start with 7 minutes. You can even do 30 seconds,” she suggests. The beach provides a very zen setting for yoga, as well. “I love to roll my yoga mat out and relax as I listen to the waves,” she says.

Head to the shoreline
The packed sand close to the waves provides a more stable surface for exercising than loose sand. “Loose sand might feel like quicksand,” LaShae says. Though sand’s unstable surface is one big benefit of working out on the beach, she warns that you shouldn’t be falling all over the place.

Pack lightly
Because you can perform virtually any bodyweight exercise on the sand, you don’t need much equipment at all—which means vacation is no excuse for slacking off. But a yoga mat could come in handy, as it gives you a flat spot with a little grip for bodyweight exercises, stretches, or yoga poses.