In Southwest Florida, one of the best ways to mix up a mundane workout routine is to hit the beach, which always makes exercise feel less like work and more like play. The sound of crashing waves can get you in the zone while the sandy terrain adds resistance, making your workout more challenging. Of course, when you exercise on the beach, always make sure you slather on the sunscreen and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Here’s how to make the most of a workout on the water.
1. Yoga: The mind-body connection plays an important role in yoga. The relaxing gulf atmosphere and soothing sounds of the waves will help clear your mind and steady your breathing as you move through asanas. Try syncing your breath with the waves. Breathe in as the waves roll in, breathe out as they crash on the shore. For a full-body stretch, opt for Dancer’s Pose, Warrior II, and Downward-Facing Dog
2. Walking/Running: An early morning walk or run on the sand is a great way to start the day. The soft surface forces the muscles to work harder, thereby increasing th
e intensity of the workout. Begin by running on wet, packed sand at low tide so your joints can adjust to the new setting. Also, be sure to wear shoes with proper ankle support to avoid injury.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training: Fast-paced high-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates low- and high-intensity exercises. Rotate between high knees (a stationary running motion with exaggerated knee raises), jump squats, burpees (in which you go from standing to a push-up position), and push-ups. The sand will offer an added challenge as your muscles must quickly contract and relax to maintain balance.
4. Swimming: This is an obvious option, but it’s also a demanding one. With unpredictable wave conditions and no lanes, open-water swimming provides a unique workout every day. Beginners should swim parallel to the shore and keep it in sight. Take breaks when needed; try active rest by going into knee-deep water and completing a set of push-ups.