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Hit the beach running

Don’t worry about missing your workout when you head to the seaside this summer. You can make up for it with these fun beach sports.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 22, 2010 19:31 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

Besides the sun, surf and sand, the beach offers one of the best places to continue your fitness regime when you’re on a vacation. Don’t break into a sweat about packing in the pounds, as you can continue losing those calories and keep up with your strength-training and cardio-vascular workouts with this bunch of beach sports.

Go running

Imagine standing at the start of a long stretch of the beach with the sound of crashing waves in the distance. Sold already, aren’t you? For one, there’s no crowd to tackle, if you choose the right time to run. Secondly, you end up getting a good strength endurance workout. Heath Matthews, physiotherapist with Elite Athletes Performance, trains sportspersons on the beach by making them do several short sprints rather than long runs. “We keep a mark at 20m or 30m and ask them to run to it and walk back. This increases their strength endurance,” he says.

Matthews’ advice is to start your run on the firm sand near the water to warm up, then shift to slightly looser sand, which ups the ante in your workout. “The impact is lesser when one runs on the soft sand, but because the sand gives, running on it is more tiring.” Then, take a break from running on loose sand and return to the firm sand. Remember to balance the impact of the beach’s slight slope on both sides of your body. “You can do that by running up and down the same stretch instead of a single direction,” adds Matthews.

Precautions: Try to run with proper running shoes since the sand could cause blisters on toes and soles.

Try Kayaking

When he’s not pumping iron in the gym, Rajeev Bhatia (40) is in Goa kayaking, and encouraging others to “give it a try”. “Not only does the rowing offer a great upper body and core workout, it does so without the vigour of a fast flowing river. You could go out into sea on either a sit-on-top or a sit-in kayak in low tide and return at high tide. It’s simpler to learn kayaking on the sea and it’s great fun,” says Bhatia. Kayaking happens at the Morjhim, Palolim, and Candolim beaches in Goa. Precautions: Carry your mobile, wear a life jacket and don’t venture out too far until you’re sure of your kayaking skills and stamina.

Beach volleyball

Running on the beach is such a good cardiovascular and strength workout that even tossing a frisbee or playing catch has its benefits. Fitness instructor Daniel Vaz feels a game of volleyball on the beach is one of the best ways to get a full workout for the body and still have fun. After all, you can only lie on a sun-bed for so long, right?

“You leap into the air and use your upper body strength to strike the ball, putting your body through different directional movements,” said Vaz. “Even if you fall, you won’t injure yourself, since the sand breaks the fall.”

Precautions: Stay hydrated, keep the shades on and don’t play if it’s too sunny.

Cool off with a swim

Wash the sand and sweat off your body with some salt water that not only promises to heal all bruises, but also leaves you feeling blissfully weightless. Swimming is not an impact sport, so even though you’re giving your body a great upper and lower body workout, you won’t feel as tired.

Precautions: Don’t swim out too far. If you can’t stand on the seabed, you’re in the deep, so be careful.