Before you dive in, make sure you know the weather and tide conditions—and use the buddy system. This is good advice for everyone—whether you plan to just play in the waves or go for a long-distance swim. Two other safety tips: Make sure you can breathe on both sides when you're swimming, not just your preferred side. This is important because if your preferred side happens to be the same side where waves are approaching, you may not be able to take a breath. You also want to make sure you're comfortable looking up and ahead of you so you can check your position in relation to other swimmers, boats and the shoreline. If you mostly play in the waves, expect to burn about 390 calories per hour, but a vigorous crawl stroke can burn up to 700 calories in the same amount of time.
Put on a mask and some fins for an entirely different way to enjoy the water. While you're swimming and taking in the sights—like beautiful fish and sometimes even coral reefs—you'll burn about 310 calories per hour. For more how-to information or to find fun places to go, check out Snorkeling.info.
Kayaking and Canoeing
If you prefer to be on the water rather than in it, try paddling. Many beaches have places to rent kayaks or canoes, and it's easy to learn the skills needed to enjoy a day out on the water. Paddling will give you a great workout for your core, chest, shoulders and back. An hour-long cruise will burn 235 calories. If you'd like to find others interested in paddling the open waters, take a look at Sea Kayaker Magazine.
You don't need to have a lot of experience to go sailing. A simple 5-to-10-minute lesson can have you piloting a personal sailboat like a seasoned sailor. It is an excellent way to work on your upper-body strength, and it adds dimensions of skill and speed. While it may seem like the wind does most of the work, you'll blow away 155 calories an hour.
Catching a wave requires balance, strength, agility, power and loads of courage. Surfing can help you burn about 155 calories per hour and works your lower body and core. If you've never tried to join the lineup at your local hot spot, take a look at Surfing-Waves.com for a tutorial on how to get started, plus some inspiring videos.
Now you can plan to leave the lounge chair and juicy novel at home. When you hit the beach this summer, you'll be ready to burn...calories, that is!
For more fitness advice, check out TheBestLife.com.
Do you hit the surf, or plop down in a chair? What are your favorite things to do at the beach? Tell us in the comments area.
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