Running on the beach is great exercise.
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There's no better place to work out than the beach. Between the sand and the refreshing water that stretch for miles, fitness expert Michael Scholtz, MA, says it's like a giant outdoor gym! And with the cool breeze, and fun and interesting sights on the beach, it's easy to forget you're even working out.

So, whether you were cooped up all winter waiting for the warm weather or you're tentatively stepping off your indoor machine for the first time, get ready to have some fun in the sun with these activities.
Walking or Jogging in the Sand
If you're used to walking on the treadmill or around your neighborhood, why not take a drive down (or walk, if you live close enough) to the beach and do your walk or jog there? You'll burn twice the calories in the sand! If you're going to be jogging in the sand, make sure to wear good sneakers both for support and for protection against abrasion. And remember that dry sand provides a much more challenging workout than the wet, hard sand near the water. Increase the time you spend in the dry sand slowly because it puts much more stress on the legs, especially the calves.

If you'd rather play than stroll or jog, pick up a Frisbee and learn some new tricks with a friend—or, if you have enough for two teams, start a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Don't know the rules? Check out for more info. An hour of tossing a Frisbee will burn 155 calories—note that all calorie calculations in this article are for a 170-pound person—while also helping to improve your agility and coordination. If you play the more rough-and-tumble version of Ultimate Frisbee, you can torch up to 545 calories.

Beach Volleyball
This sport is not just for Olympic athletes. In fact, you can make small adjustments so people of all skill levels can play. For example, instead of using a standard volleyball, try a beach ball to make the game slower and easier. You can play with two people or whole teams; use the number of people playing to determine the size of your court—the more people, the bigger the court. Then simply draw a line in the sand. An hour of bumping, setting and spiking will help you melt away 545 calories.

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

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 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

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.

Keep Reading:
Find the perfect swimsuit for your shape
10 sensational summer fitness ideas
Workout over? Soak up the sun with the perfect beach book!
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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