By: Sheila Borgen, PT
Dipping your toes into the warm ocean water as the waves dash up the sandy shoreline can be one of the most gratifying activities of summer. No wonder the beach is one of the most visited destinations for Americans seeking a break from the monotony of daily life. With nearly 100,000 miles of ocean shoreline in the US, there is no shortage of sandy vacation spots to visit. In fact, 30 states have a coastline, so chances are traveling to a beach setting is feasible for most.
Each person has their own idea of what makes a beach vacation desirable. For some, simply laying in the sun soaking up the rays while listening to the waves slap on shore and the seagulls caw as they fly overhead sums up their perfect vacation. For others, joining in a sports activity brings fulfillment. But, any way you look at it, the beach offers a variety of vacation activities to satisfy even the most particular person.
Let’s look at four ways to sneak in exercise while enjoying your summer beach vacation.
1. Building sandcastles is a common way children and adults spend time at the beach. Since the 19th century, families have made memories while racing back and forth to the ocean to scoop up a mixture of water and wet sand to add to their growing sandcastle. This activity is a great way to improve your fitness while enjoying family time!
2. Volleyballs are often passed back and forth over nets on makeshift sand courts. Although regulation beach volleyball calls for two players on each side of the net, vacation beach volleyball is nonspecific. It is open for whatever amount of people want to join in and arrive ready to hit the ball to the opposing team. Rules are often thrown into the dunes as players enjoy jumping, running, and diving to pass the ball back to the opposing team.
3. Swimming is a definite for beach goers to at least get far enough offshore to enjoy jumping into the waves as they break. Distant sunbathers can hear squeals of excitement and anticipation of the next breaking wave in abundance over the ocean’s roar. Jumping waves is a fantastic way to spend a sunny afternoon while working almost every major muscle group in your lower body, challenging your balance, and increasing your cardiovascular system’s demands.
4. Believe it or not, walking is one of the travelers’ most popular beachside activities. Beach walking will challenge your lower extremity strength and endurance more than walking on a flat surface. Step from the packed sand at the shoreline into the soft, deep, loose sand to increase the physical demands. There is no shortage of people-watching as you stroll alongside the crashing surf. Consider a treasure hunt to turn simple beach walking into an adventure for the entire family!
There is a multitude of activities that one can engage in while at the beach. Unfortunately, a group of people shies away from beach vacations for fear of falling or becoming injured due to muscle weakness, poor endurance, or less than ideal balance. Don’t rob yourself of making family memories over a physical deficit. The talented therapists at Age Fit Physical Therapy and Wellness are eager to assist you in preparing physically for your summer coastal vacation. Give them a call, and then get out the travel guidebook. Your dream beach vacation awaits you!
Sheila is a freelance writer for physical health, mental health, and parenting. She has four exceptional children, one adopted from South Korea. She lives in Alabama with her husband and children. Sheila enjoys cheering her children on at their archery tournaments and soccer games. She has over 24 years of experience as a physical therapist with a special love for the senior population. Learn more about Sheila at WriteInventive.com.