Sarah Maxwell breaks down the sometimes daunting prospect of exercise into easily manageable activities that can be slotted into a busy lifestyle
This summer I will be heading to the beach to reap the many benefits of the seaside. Fresh sea air, the sand between your toes and the ability to switch off from the stresses of daily life can all contribute to increased wellbeing – and the beach itself offers the perfect location for exercise outside of the gym.
So if you’re going on holiday this summer, by the sea or pool, use this opportunity to feel your very best and increase your wellbeing both physically and mentally. Kick off your trainers or sandals and go barefoot, as not only will this give you a better workout on the sand, walking on both wet and dry sand will challenge your body in different ways.
Scientists continually say that it takes more energy to walk or run on sand than it does to move at the same pace on hard surfaces, and that energy is used to strengthen all the lower body muscles – especially your calves, quadriceps and glutes. The drier the sand, the harder it is. Regular runners may prefer wetter, firmer sand in order to maintain proper form.
You can also expect to burn a lot more calories on sand than you would on hard ground and all the while you are getting a free foot exfoliation from being barefoot in the sand!
Walking in the surf: Just walking in ankle deep water is a great challenge, working against the ebb and flow of the tide and you have yourself a great lower body workout as you engage those core muscles to stay upright! The deeper you go the more challenging you can make it.
Playing in the waves: Jumping up and down in the surf is great fun and a challenge to your entire body. Diving under waves and swimming against the tide is a great way to work out, with the ocean providing extra resistance, working your muscles and improving your fitness levels
But not only is the beach good for physical activities it can also help to increase your mental wellbeing. Spending time in the sunshine can increase your levels of vitamin D and research has shown that this can help to improve calcium absorption, stress levels and your mood (an especially great advantage if you find that family holidays often turn out to be rather stressful!)
Now we’ve spent all that time in the water, and by the water, we need to focus on drinking water! We all know drinking plenty of water is important, we all (probably!) know we should be drinking more than we actually do, but do you know how crucial water is to everything that is going on in our bodies?
It helps to flush out waste and bacteria, it assists in weight management, leads to increased energy levels and it naturally plumps and hydrates our skin. This is particularly so in the warmer weather when it’s essential to stay hydrated (even more so if we are exercising)
Learn to listen to your body: yawning and daytime fatigue can quite often be signs of dehydration. Often we mistake this for being hungry, so before you reach for that sugary snack have a glass of water first and you will probably find that ‘pang of hunger’ just disappears! Make carrying around a water bottle your new habit and make sure you refill it frequently.
For advice on how to keep safe in the water this summer, and water safety in general, see Royal Life Saving Society UK’s website rlss.org.uk
Exercise of the month:
Jumping Jacks/star jumps
(In waist height water – sea or pool – or on the sand)
This is a great exercise for the whole body and much more fun in the water!
Jump with your legs apart, at the same time raise your arms and create a star shape with your body. (Keep knees soft and your core engaged.)
Aim to do 30 seconds; rest 20 second; repeat 3x.
Sarah Maxwell is a multiple award-winning Fitness and Lifestyle coach and mum of two who juggles a lot of balls. Find out more about Sarah and her work at sarahmaxwell.com
Sarah shares her Fitness and Lifestyle tips on Instagram @sarahmaxwelllifestyle
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