Beach Workout: Mix It Up A Bit

Studies have shown that soft sand running takes about 1.5 times the effort as running on a hard surface like asphalt.

If you’ve fobeach-workout-mix-it-up-a-bitund that your workout routine has gotten stale or your motivation is lacking, a trip to the beach may be exactly what you need to get back in the groove. Sarasota and Manatee counties are home to many of the best beaches in not only Florida, but the entire country. From Anna Maria Island to Longboat Key, Manatee Beach to Lido and Siesta Key, there is no shortage of amazing options here. You can even exercise with your furry canine friend at dog friendly Brohard Paw Beach. One caveat: leave your umbrella, iPod, and cooler at home, because this particular shore venture isn’t about relaxation. You’ll be working, but not on your tan. Here are some ideas for a great beach workout.

Obviously, bringing barbells and dumbbells with you to the beach is not realistic, but you can accomplish good work in using only your body weight. And don’t forget, the sand adds a surprisingly considerable amount of resistance, even the more hardpacked sand at water’s edge. As with any workout, make sure to warm up. Even if you begin to sweat as soon as you step out of your car (any Floridian knows this is
guaranteed to happen during the summer months), your muscles may not be as warm as the air. Doing a few minutes of calisthenics and maybe some light jogging will increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, which will prep you for the workout ahead and help prevent injury. Pushups, air squats, planks, and lunges are all good exercises to incorporate into a warm up.

Now, you’ll want to take advantage of what the beach offers that the gym doesn’t. How about soft sand running? Studies have shown that soft sand running takes about 1.5 times the effort as running on a hard surface like asphalt. Soft sand running is not without risks, so you’ll want to consider the following carefully. All beaches are sloped, however slightly, toward the shoreline, so be aware that you are running at an angle. To protect your knees, you may want to run from the water up the beach, not along the shore like most people do. Speaking of knees, it’s not that difficult to twist one while running in soft sand. Don’t start in the softest area. Transition slowly from the harder sand by the water to the fluffier sand farther up the beach. Begin at a light pace, and carefully start to go faster. You may even find that a brisk walk or jog is more than enough to get you breathing hard.

Ever try running into the water? Yeah, it gets tough pretty quick. Once the water is waist high, it’s like moving through quicksand. While this is a very bad thing if you’re trying to escape from a shark, it’s perfect for a workout. In fact, this type of training is used by professional sports teams and branches of the armed forces, including special operations units (you don’t have to wear a hundred pound pack while you do this though!). Running along the shore at different water depths will burn loads of calories or you can run from the water to the shore and back until you can’t anymore. Again, take caution here. The sand in the water shifts with each tide, so don’t assume it’s flat. Always remember to wear sunscreen while outside training and also to drink lots and lots of water. Training in the hot sun is more taxing, so be smart and stay hydrated.