11 Fun Beach Activities that Burn Calories and Build Muscle

There is perhaps, nothing more enjoyable than a carefree day at the beach. The water, sand and ocean air work harmoniously together to create an invigorating atmosphere that awakens and enlivens the soul. Why not make your visit to the beach even more beneficial by adding a muscle building, calorie burning, heart thumping workout to the mix? We’ve got a sandcastle full of suggestions to help you stay active and strong while you play in the waves this year.

#1 – Go running in the sand. Running is an excellent full body workout. But it’s high impact and hard on the joints. Running in the sand is a much better way to exercise. If you’ve ever dropped a basketball on the beach, you’re aware that it won’t bounce off the sand. That’s because the sand absorbs every bit of the shock. That sand will do the same thing when you’re jogging or running along the shore. Your ankles, shins and knees won’t take a pounding like they do on flat, paved surfaces. Sand running helps you build stronger leg muscles and better balance than running on a hard surface.
How many calories will it burn? Running in the sand will help you burn around 600 calories per hour.

#2 – Throw around a Frisbee at the beach. A Frisbee won’t take up too much room in your beach tote. But taking one along can add some hardcore fun to your beach trip. And using it will give you our permission to skip the gym for a day. Just toss the Frisbee around casually. Or grab a few friends, make a boundary line in the sand and play Ultimate Frisbee. Search online for Ultimate Frisbee rules. Adding a Frisbee workout to your beach day will strengthen the muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest.
How many calories will it burn? Casually tossing around the Frisbee will help you burn around 300 calories per hour. You’ll burn about 500 calories an hour playing Ultimate Frisbee.

#3 – Get into the water and move around. It’s nice to relax in the sand with a good book and a beach umbrella. But to get the full beach experience, you have to get out there into the ocean and enjoy the waves. Just playing around in the water is a great way to add some exercise to your day. Step it up by throwing in some actual swimming or treading water and you’ve got a nice workout brewing. Playing in the waves will help you build your leg muscles and strengthen your core. Swimming in the ocean works practically every muscle in your body and provides an excellent calorie burning exercise.

How many calories will it burn? Expect to burn around 300 calories by playing in the water for an hour. If you’re actively swimming in the waves, you’ll burn close to 500 calories per hour.

#4 – Find a pet friendly beach and walk your dog. More and more beaches are becoming pet friendly. Ask around to find a beach where Rover is welcome and grab his favorite leash. Walking on the beach with your dog is a great exercise. It’s a lot more difficult to walk in the sand than on a flat surface. Like running in the sand, walking in it will help you improve your balance and build strong leg muscles. Bringing along your canine friend will encourage you to keep moving.
How many calories will it burn? We’re not sure about the dog. But the owner can burn up to 500 calories an hour walking along the beach.

#5 – Practice a little yoga on the shore. Salute the morning sun as you enjoy a peaceful stretch on the beach. Yoga at the beach is a blissful way to start your day. Experts recommend using an extra-large beach towel instead of a yoga mat when you’re practicing in the sand. And wear a swimsuit in lieu of yoga pants so you can rinse off in the ocean afterward. Yoga helps you strengthen your core and elongate your muscles.

How many calories will it burn? You can burn around 300 calories an hour practicing yoga on the beach.

#6 – Go snorkeling. If you want to see some really cool stuff in the ocean, grab a buddy and rent some snorkeling gear. If you’ve never done it before, it’s wise to take a snorkeling class first. Then strap on your masks and enjoy the underwater show. Early mornings are when you’ll get to see the most action – before all the sea life gets scared away by the crowds. Snorkeling is a great way to build muscle in your core, arms and legs.

How many calories will it burn? You’ll burn about 300 calories per hour snorkeling.

#7 – Organize a game of flag football in the sand. If you’ve got some friends that are up for some fun, call them together for a friendly game of flag football at the beach. You’ll need at least five people on each team. If you have flag belts with Velcro, great. But if not, just tuck the flags into the waistbands of your shorts. Then mark out some boundary lines and flip a coin to decide which team will start with possession of the ball. Play nicely and have fun. Similar to running on the beach, playing flag football will help strengthen your leg muscles.

How many calories will it burn? When you play flag football in the sand, you’ll burn around 500 calories an hour.

#8 – Rent a kayak. Most beach towns have little shops here and there that offer kayaks you can rent for a few hours. Often, the shop will offer a quick demonstration of how to hold a kayak paddle and other tips. While beginners typically use their arm strength to paddle, the pros advise learning to propel the kayak by rotating your torso to put power behind the paddle. It’s wise to take a friend along on a kayaking adventure. And be sure you wear a decent lifejacket. You’ll get a fantastic core workout when paddling a kayak.

How many calories will it burn? Expect to burn around 600 calories per hour, while kayaking.

#9 – Try stand up paddle boarding. These days, in the same shops where you can rent a kayak, you can usually find a standup paddleboard (SUP). SUPs are similar to surfboards, but designed for use with a paddle. You’ll get a stellar core workout using a SUP. It’ll also help build muscles in your legs and arms. And standup paddle boarding is so much fun, you may forget you’re even exercising.

How many calories will it burn? You can burn up to 600 calories an hour on a SUP.

#10 – Play beach volleyball. What could be more quintessential summer than a friendly game of beach volleyball? Lots of beaches have nets up and ready for a game. So all you really need is a ball. Once other beachgoers see you lobbing a volleyball around, it won’t be long before they join you. Playing beach volleyball is a great way to build your leg muscles and work on balance. You’ll also use your arms, shoulders and core while you play. Volleyball is a perfect learn-as-you-go sport. Virtually anyone, of any skill level, can jump in and start playing. It’s easy to pick up pointers along the way and follow what everyone else is doing. You’ll have a great time playing and meeting new friends while the calories melt right off.

How many calories will it burn? You’ll burn around 600 calories per hour playing beach volleyball.

#11 – Attempt any form of surfing. Last but not least – hands down, the coolest sport of summer is surfing. Dude, you have got to try at least one form of surfing before the summer is over. The one prerequisite for surfing is being a decent swimmer. You’ve got to know how to get yourself out of deep water quickly and maintain your wits when the waves come in.

If you’re a strong swimmer, consider bodysurfing. Other than a wetsuit, you won’t need any gear for bodysurfing. First, face the waves and pick one you like. When you see it, turn around quickly so you’re facing the shore and start swimming as fast as the wave is moving. If you’re swimming fast enough, that wave will pick you up and give you a ride toward the shore. It’s exhilarating. You’ll get a whole body workout bodysurfing.

If you’d prefer surfing on a board, rent one from a surf shop and sign up for a beginner’s class at the beach. Soft boards float well and they’re durable. Surfing experts generally recommend starting out with a soft board your first few times on the waves. Also, choose a long surfboard to begin as well.

Boogie boarding is another good surfing option. It’s a similar process as bodysurfing. But for this, you’ll need a short, boogie board with a wrist strap. And instead of riding the waves in only your wetsuit, you’ll ride them while lying with your belly, chest and waist on the boogie board.
How many calories will it burn? Surfing of any kind will help you burn 200-400 calories, depending on the frequency of the waves. We think that’s pretty righteous.

There’s really no need to be a total beach bum when you’re on vacation this year. Why not use the beach as your workout partner instead? Pack a Frisbee, bring the dog or learn to use a standup paddleboard. Jump into one of these fun beach activities that can help you burn calories and build muscle while you enjoy your summer in the sand.

Caloric burn rate throughout this article is based on that of a person weighing 150 pounds.

If you want to strengthen your core and back, flatten your belly and achieve your dream abs while keeping yourself injury free, then check out the Invincible Core program.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS

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