In a time when fitness fads come and go, it is more important than ever to find an exercise program that can work for the long haul. While some people turn to costly gym memberships and bulky home exercise equipment, other people are discovering the power of the great outdoors. This is even more true in states like California, which has a temperate climate along the coast that makes outdoor exercise ideal. In fact, more people than ever are finding the answer to their health goals at the beach.
At first glance, the beach may only seem fit for rest and relaxation. However, the sand provides distinctive opportunities. Beach workouts can be diverse, intense and invigorating. For those who may not be sure where to start, just consider the following possibilities for a beach workout today.
Running is an exercise staple since it requires no special set up and can be easily tailored for any fitness level. While running can be done virtually anywhere, there is a distinctive appeal of running at the beach. For some people, the experience of running on sand is particularly appealing. For others, the gorgeous water views can provide the inspiration to keep moving. Many coastal areas are developing the waterfront for fitness purposes, providing designated running trails. In fact, there is a movement to develop the California Coastal Trail, which winds up and down the shore throughout the entire state.
While running may get the heart rate up faster, walking should never be discredited. Many experts say that a brisk 30 minute walk each day can have a palpable impact on one’s health. Walking on the beach is especially popular because, for most people, such a task does not even feel like a workout. Walking along the sand is often considered a recreational activity. By walking with a bit more purpose, it is easy to turn a seaside stroll into an invigorating workout.
Yoga is a popular exercise that focuses on physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Yoga utilizes a variety of body positions to promote fitness, but these positions can only be sustained with mental and spiritual clarity. While there are many opportunities to practice yoga at home and through special classes, yoga at the beach has a particular appeal. After all, the water and the wind provide a peaceful ambiance, which can help many people quiet their mind and improve their workout. There are even beach yoga classes in various cities throughout California.
4. Tai chi.
Like yoga, tai chi is a gentle, low impact exercise that encourages mental discipline and core strength. To master tai chi, it is important to be focused and stable. Therefore, mastering tai chi also means conquering stress and downplaying other distractions in life. The beach is perfectly suited for tai chi, since the graceful movement of the waves can help inspire graceful movements in the exercise itself.
Rugby may not be the most popular sport in America, but it has a growing niche of followers. There is no better place to play rugby than on the sand, which provides a unique element to the game. Rugby has the physicality of football with elements of soccer, creating a distinctive, high impact game that always gets the adrenaline pumping. There are some rugby leagues in California, although a formal beach rugby league can be hard to find. Most people who play do so with unofficial pick-up games, often utilizing a smaller field and flexible scoring rules.
Soccer may be the most popular sport around the world, but it is still working on developing a mainstream following in the United States. However, one of the best places to try soccer is the beach. Many players find beach soccer to be an exciting challenge since the sand leads to less predictable play. There are some beach soccer leagues, but the sport is also popular for casual play and intramural challenges. Some of the larger leagues are in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and there are also various tournaments in Long Beach and Santa Monica.
Beach volleyball is very popular in southern California, and many beaches have volleyball nets accessible to promote play. The California Beach Volleyball Association is well established and offers various opportunities for organized and competitive games. While a league can provide good opportunities to compete, players just looking to have fun can try pick up games on any number of beaches including options in San Diego, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo and more.
8. Dog walking.
Some people exercise better with company. In some cases, there is no better friend to exercise with than a four-legged one. Dogs are high energy pets, which means getting outside with a canine companion is not only good for the dog but can help inspire fitness in the owner as well. Fortunately, dogs love the beach, making a walk along the water a perfect way to get in shape for both parties involved. While dogs can be walked on leashes on most beaches, there are some dog friendly beaches to consider. This includes spaces at Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island, Coronado and more.
9. Scavenger hunts.
One of the perks of the coming and going of the tide is that it constantly changes the sand along the water’s edge. This means that there is always something new to discover. From shells to polished glass, people scour the sands for a wide variety of things. While this may seem like a leisure activity, roaming the beach for small trophies can actually be a noteworthy workout. Some people may just use their eyes while others may use a metal detector to help unearth money or other so-called treasures in the sand. There are even opportunities for geocaching along the beach, which involves a more specific type of hunting that utilizes predetermined coordinates.
While most of these activities are done on the sand, surfing utilizes the water for fitness. Surfing is a quintessential beach sport in California, which has some of the best surfing beaches in the country. Some of the most popular beaches for surfing include Manhattan Beach, Dockweiler Beach, Malibu Point and Trestles. When most people think of surfing, they assume only experts can try it. However, the are many opportunities for novices as well, and there are even instructional classes to help new surfers get their feet wet.
These ten options are really just a starting point. The beach has endless opportunities for fitness, many of which can be tailored to any personal workout preference and any ultimate fitness goal. Some beaches are recognizing the workout potential and have started to develop explicit exercise courses to help people of all fitness levels get started. Even regular beach play, like building sand castles or giving piggy back rides in the surf, can be a great way to get the heart pumping.
Finding the right exercise regimen can be hard. After all, fitness trends come and go. To find an exercise program that works for the long haul, consider trying the beach in California. Between the sun, the sand and the waves, getting in shape has never been so much fun.
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