You show me someone who loves long walks on the beach and I'll show you a cliche romantic with really nice calves.
For real. Because sand isn't just good for finding its way into every body crevice during dirty beach make-out sessions -- it's also kind of amazing for maximizing the benefits of exercise while reducing the likelihood of injury and soreness.
You don't have to take my word for it. Multiple studies indicate that training on a constantly shifting and unstable surface like sand (particularly dry sand) can lead to greater increases in aerobic capacity, improved jumping and sprinting performance with less post-workout soreness, and greater calorie burn with less impact to the joints when compared to training on harder, more stable surfaces like grass. This all adds up to a pretty badass exercise experience, according to science.
If you've got a beach vacation in your future, schedule in some time to get busy in the sand... with exercise. Here are your go-to workouts.
This high-intensity interval-training program is set up on a 1:2 ratio of work to rest, which means you get double the rest for every work period you perform. The key here is to perform active rest, which means you’ll continue walking slowly along the sand as you rest.
After warming up with a 10-minute jog along the wet sand at the water’s edge, move further from the water onto dry sand. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, pushing yourself as hard as you can. Then rest for 40 seconds, walking slowly along the sand as you prepare for the next exercise. Perform each movement once to complete a single round, performing a total of five rounds.
- Exercise 1, Sprint: Run as fast as you can along the sand for the full 20 seconds.
- Exercise 2, Plyo burpee: Start with your feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent. Squat down, planting your hands on the ground before hopping your feet behind you in a full plank. Immediately hop your feet back to their starting position and explode up into the air as you extend your arms over your head. Land on the balls of your feet with your knees and hips slightly bent before continuing the exercise as fast as you can with good form.
- Exercise 3, Skaters: Moving like a speed skater, start with your feet hip-distance apart, your knees slightly bent. Lunge your right leg behind and to the outside of your left leg, reaching your right arm across your body to your left foot. Immediately hop your right leg to the right, this time lunging your left leg behind and to the outside of your right leg, reaching your left arm across your body to your right foot. Continue as fast as you can, “skating” from side to side.
- Exercise 4, Moguls: Stand with your feet together, knees and hips slightly bent. Hop up into the air, keeping your torso forward-facing as you twist your hips and legs as far as you can to the right, landing on the balls of your feet, knees and hips still slightly bent. Immediately hop your feet back into the air, twisting your hips and legs as far as you can to the left, again landing on the balls of your feet. Continue this twisting hop as fast as you can.