The Benefits of Beach Workouts

By: Bel Marra Health | Exercise | Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 12:49 AM

good healthIf you have a balanced diet and work out on a regular basis then you probably think you have set yourself up for years of good health. This could be true; however, fitness experts say to obtain optimum results you have to pay close attention to where you are working out. In other words, it’s not just the performance that can lead you to good health; it’s the atmosphere.

A review of several fitness studies has determined that there are huge benefits to physical performance in a natural environment like the beach. In the cases that were looked at, working out in a natural setting proved to not only strengthen muscle tone and lead to weight loss, it provided mental benefits.  A review, published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, looked at the impact of outdoor physical performance on both adults and children. The conclusion…that working out in green spaces was associated with feelings of increased energy, positive engagement, decreased depression, and decreased tension. Many participants reported that they were more likely to repeat the performance outside as opposed to inside.

Working Out on the Beach

The benefits of any physical activity seem to be supported by those who study vitamin deficiency. For example, reports published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicate that one reason people may be vitamin D deficient is because they don’t spend enough time outside doing outdoor activities. Some studies show that low vitamin D can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

We require about 5 minutes of sun exposure to our face, arms, back or legs twice a week. Since sunlight can lead to skin cancer, after a few minutes in the sun, sunscreen should be applied even if it is a hazy day. In the winter months, when people spend less time outdoors, nutritionists suggest vitamin D supplements.

Working out surfside

Some people consider working out as a chore or punishment, but add a beach to the mix and it hardly seems like something ominous. Orthopaedic surgeons will attest to the fact that the beach allows for great cross-training and strength building. Walking in soft sand, running along the water’s edge, and swimming can all be part of your routine. The sandy surface is less jarring on joints and the swimming provides for a good cardio work-out.  In some U.S cities, personal trainers will get their clients working out at the local beach.

Simply walking on the beach in bare feet is considered working out. This is because the sand shifts, making traction more difficult. As a result your muscles are working harder as you are walking and trying to maintain your balance.

If you have recently injured a foot or leg, walking, running or jumping on beach sand is not a good option. The uneven surface will pose a risk for further muscle strain or other injuries.

Outdoor Safety While Working Out

When you are planning on taking your fitness performance outdoors, it is important to be prepared. You’ll need sunscreen of course, but also plenty of water. You’ll want to take a sip every 15 minutes on hot summer days. During peak heat, personal trainers suggest that you refrain from working out. You can lower your risk of problems and maintain good health if you avoid working out at the beach between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when temperatures tend to be the hottest. Early morning or late afternoon is much safer.

Most people who work out on the beach have reported that time passes quickly; that they don’t realize that their performance has gone on as long as it has. As a consequence, they tend to end up burning more calories than they would if they were working out at a gym or in their own homes. Many have also stated that they don’t feel tired after working out, but revitalized instead.

If you are looking to shake-up your current work-out or even kick-start a routine, arm yourself with the outdoor safety tips above and hit the great outdoors for some fun and sun, it could just lead you to good health.


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