Sun’s out, fun’s out: the beach workout you didn’t know you were getting

There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach; the scent of the water, the sight of the rolling tide, and the serene sound of the waves sliding onto the shore – it’s truly one of the best ways to unplug from your everyday life.

Okay, so maybe the beach isn’t always that idyllic once you factor in the unmistakable smell of sunscreen, the long drive up, or the droves of people that flock to the sands on the perfect summer day. But that’s why the beach is so popular and maybe even a little bit magic: it offers so many of summer’s delights in one place, and even if it gets a little busy, there’s plenty of sun, surf, and fun to go around.

Now, stop right there.

While you’re certainly reading this on a screen of some sort, let’s treat the beach as a no-screen zone. Remember when I said it’s one of the best ways to unplug? I meant that literally. Leave your cell phone, tablet, and laptop in the car.

Whether your beach trip is seaside, lakeside, or in a pinch, poolside, there are plenty of ways to get active and have an amazing time.

Every beach day starts the same way: a walk through the sands in search of a place to lie down the beach towels – and, if you’re savvy, an umbrella and cooler stocked with refreshments. As always, it’s important to keep hydrated – especially when you’re spending a day under the hot sun.

There are a few different approaches to the beach; some like to get wet right off the bat, others get settled first before taking the plunge, and some beach-goers simply find their perfect spot and buckle down for a day of relaxation and sun – just don’t drip on them when you get back from a cool swim.

Check out our map below, and plan how you’ll spend your beach day:

ParticipACTION's benefits of the beach graphic

Even if you’re the type that would rather lounge in the sun with a good book than frolic about in the water, don’t pass up the opportunity to take a quick stroll through the sands. And wouldn’t you know it, the beach is equipped with all sorts of ways to optimize your physical activity so that a little can go a long way.

The sand is nature’s resistance training – that means that a walk, jog, or beach run will really do a number on your calves in the best way. Just make sure to watch out for debris, rocks, beach critters, and sunbathers.

Joining a game of beach volleyball is another easy win for getting up and active at the beach. Not only is it fun and some good cardio, you’ll have an opportunity to make tons of new friends when your volleyball unavoidably veers away from the court and trounces on an unsuspecting family’s picnic basket. A quick “sorry!” and I’m sure they’ll toss your ball back. The first few times, at least. In the future, it might be a good idea to take the game into the water, and use an inflatable ball to reduce collateral damage.

And when it’s inevitably time to cool down, a quick dip in the waves is a perfect chance for some water aerobics – which, in beach terms, more or less translates to just doin’ you in the tides. That means everything from floating around, wading through the water, to engaging in a splash war with your family and friends. Treading water is a fantastic and fun way to load up on cardio. Surf’s up!

There’s no recipe for a perfect beach day; simply go and do what you feel, and in the process, you’ll almost certainly find yourself sneaking in physical activity. By day’s end, you’ll be walking with your towel slung around your shoulder, taking one last wistful look back at the shore, thinking to yourself: “I don’t want to go back to work.”

Now, I implore you – check the weather on your day off, make it a beach day, and enjoy your technology-free escape!