Make the most of trips to the coast and get some exercise between relaxing, writes Susan Edmunds.
If you plan on a few more weekends at the beach this summer, your fitness doesn't have to suffer. Here are some activities that will burn calories, without it feeling like hard work.
Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that works every muscle group. Regular swimming helps build strength and improves your overall fitness and endurance. The sea gives you more buoyancy and, if you are battling the waves, you will burn more calories than in a pool. Use the opportunity to build up the distance you swim when you don't have to worry about turning around at the end of each lap.
An hour of surfing burns about 115 calories in a woman of average build, and about 125 in an average man. As with anything, the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn. Surfing is a good full-body workout, but is especially good for your upper body. It improves balance and co-ordination, and is great stress relief.
If you are used to pounding the pavements, take your workout to a new level by walking on the soft sand at the beach. The movement of the sand will require your muscles to work overtime. Walking in sand requires two or three times more energy than walking on hard surfaces.
If boarding down the dunes is the fun part, walking or running up is the bit that makes sandboarding a full-on workout. It combines the effects of walking on sand with the bum-toning benefits of hills.
Handboarding is basically bodysurfing with the aid of a mitt and it gives you the same kind of workout you would get swimming, with a bit of extra upper-body work. The mitt allows you to get around the waves more easily, and ride further than you would with your body alone.
Transporting these sports on to soft sand gives you an extra workout. It's easier on your joints - and there's less chance of injury - but you will have to work harder to run and jump. The quick changes in direction and pace are good for agility as well as building up the smaller muscles in your legs. A person of average build would burn about 120 calories every 15 minutes playing beach volleyball. Touch rugby is good for improving fitness, musculoskeletal strength and co-ordination, as well as running speed.