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Beach workouts to get you fit

Exercising on sand provides a greater resistance to each move and is said to be easier on the joints

With the summer here, it's time to shape up and get bikini-ready. Research points out that working out on the sand provides better conditioning and resistance than other surfaces, as it brings even smaller muscles into motion. If you're on holiday at a beach, don't let the vacation push you off the workout wagon. Use the environment to pose a greater challenge to your exercises. So, go ahead, hit the sand with these workouts...

Try partner yoga
Vacationing with someone special? Then how about performing asanas together on your break? This perks up your intimacy levels and leaves you glowing and refreshed. Try the Facing Forward Bend while seated, which stretches the spine, or even the Umbrella Pose, where you stand legs apart, backs touching, and bend forward slowly, then straighten up.

Why it works:
Research says just 30 minutes of an early-morning yoga session on the sand can help start your day in an invigorating way. And having a partner join in, increases stability and motivation levels. Since you have each other's support, you hold on to the poses a lot longer. With the feet sunk slightly into the sand, it's harder to lose balance and it makes you more 'mindful' or aware of the workout.

Balance on the exercise ball
The exercise ball or stability ball on the sand also adds a nice challenge. Do a Squeeze Play, where you lie down with the ball between your feet and squeeze it, raising the leg off the ground. Or, try the Straight Leg Bridge where you lie on the back, with the ball under the heels. You raise your hips off the ground and then ease yourself back on the floor. 

Why it works:
Practising on an uneven surface like this builds the core muscles in the back, abdominal area, hips, knees, hamstring and shoulders. It improves flexibility.

Doing weights
Using weights for exercises and beach lunges can really strengthen and tone up both — the muscles of the lower body plus the core. Try the shoulder press, lateral raises and beach lunges with a set of dumbbells or kettlebells, which targets the shoulder muscles, arms, glutes, quadriceps and calves.

Why it works:
Using dumbbells makes the legs and core work against the weight, increasing the difficulty of the exercise. Start with a light set of weights and gradually increase to 5-8 pound dumbbells.

Sand lunges
Basic or static lunges in the sand versus a hard surface allows for a deeper stride as you can hit the sand without causing injury.

Why it works: The sand isn't level, so you'll have to balance on the front foot. This targets the quadriceps of the thigh and can give you a toned derriere.

Go barefoot running
The beach can give you the most strenuous workout when it comes to running. A report mentions how running on sand requires '1.6 times the energy' that running on a hard surface would require. Doing a beach run at dawn or after sunset is quite relaxing too. Always warm up before starting as the sand puts additional strain on the muscles. Also, don't start by running too fast. Begin with a gradual run and add more minutes as you go further. Choose a clear spot to run in. And start with the wet sand as it's easier to run on that than slippery, dry sand.

Why it works:
It is harder to run on the beach because the sand is always shifting below your feet. The unstable surface helps to develop strength in the calves, ankles and quads. A study by an Australian university concluded that landing on soft sand increases the "collision" time, or the time during which the foot sinks into the sand, thereby reducing overall stress.

1.1 times faster
That's how your heart beats when working out on the sand. Yet this does not cause any more muscle damage or inflammation than the exercises performed
on a grass surface.


-Always do a warm-up. This can be light jogging, followed by bear crawls, which is walking on all fours on the sands. Follow it up with a few standing jumps and you're ready!
-Use a sunscreen before the workout to protect your skin against sun damage.
-Round it off with a cold, post-workout shower, which soothes tired and sore muscles.

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