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How to Really Hit the Beach While On Vacation

Posted By Lisa Regan on 06/19/2012

Vacation does not need to mean totally slacking off on your fitness goals (or, let's be realistic, sporadic efforts at fitness maintenance). If your annual family trip includes nightly luaus, bellying up to the resort bar, or just doing justice to Grandpa's efforts on the grill, you may want to work in some workouts. And if you're heading to the beach, it couldn't be easier.

Beaches provide the perfect exercise environment: sand is an unstable surface, so simple exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups are made more difficult as you struggle to self-stabilize. That is core work, and all of those little adjustments will get you sweating.

On sand, things that would ordinarily be easy or at least manageable become very high-intensity indeed. But that's useful—it doesn't take a lot of effort to come up with your own workout, and to vary it daily. Just try putting a couple of things together, and doing them through a few times. Like, a squat to a push-up, perhaps with a jump in-between. That's the entertainingly named "squat thrust" and, when done on sand, it is astonishingly intense.

Likewise, even short runs in the sand will be very, very taxing. To pack a lot of sweat into a minimum of time, try Tabata training: 20 second sprints, running all out, followed by 10 second recoveries, for a total of 10 repetitions. (For the uninitiated, hold back a bit and give yourself more recovery—this really is high-intensity exercise. Precede and follow the four minutes of Tabata with a few minutes of steady-state exercise, such as moderate jogging.)

Or, if the idea of sweating all over a pristine beach doesn't appeal, we have people you can ask for wellness tips to keep you on track on vacation, and throughout the year:

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