Turn Your Beach Day Into a Fitness and Wellness Retreat

July 20, 2015

You’ve skipped the gym five days in a row, and your dull skin and tight muscles are screaming for a spa day, too. But the sun’s out and the last thing you want is to spend the day indoors—let alone shell out major cash for a massage and facial.

Worry not—you can ditch the gym and cancel your spa treatments. Everything you need to treat your mind and body well is right there where the sand meets the sea.

That sand and surf combo is pretty powerful—is there any other place where you can get a full body workout, beauty treatments, and boost your mental health in one fell swoop—and for free?

Searching for that one perfect spot to plop down your beach towels can be resistance training in itself. And once you’re there, you engage in some pretty sweet treatments just by default—exfoliation, mineral baths, and detoxing.

So, treat yourself to a beach day that will rival just about anything you’d find at the gym or spa. We’ve got a simple plan that will put your body—and soul—through the paces.

Go for a run (or walk)

Consider scouting prime real estate on the sand your warm up. Once you post up, take off for a run—high-resistance cardio at it’s finest. Don’t feel like running? It’s cool—a walk will do you good, too. Walking on sand automatically engages your muscles in more mechanical work than walking on pavement.

Swim your heart out

Prolong your runner’s high by jumping straight into the ocean. Swimming is an amazing low-impact workout—great rehabilitation for people nursing injuries. Plus, swimming engages most of your major muscle groups in the consistent, gentle resistance of the water. The result? Improved endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and strong shoulders, arms, and legs. Bonus: Splashing around in the water can make you feel like a kid again.

To take it to the next level, grab a surfboard and hit the waves for a killer core workout.

Cool down with some casual yoga

Your beach towel can double as a yoga mat for some post-workout stretching. Downward facing dog, child’s pose, pigeon pose, triangle pose, and cat-cow can give you the relief from neck and back pain you might be craving from a massage.

Take a natural mineral bath

Who needs a fancy mineral pool at a spa or resort when the ocean is naturally rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and iodine? Just wading or floating in the shallows or tide pools can give the body therapeutic benefits of these nutrients, including fighting infection and detoxifying the body.

Treat your tresses

Splashing around will help you reap some hair benefits as well—saltwater can act almost like a clarifying shampoo, stripping built up chemicals and unnecessary oils that can weigh your hair down while adding va-va-voom volume. Be absolutely sure to condition your hair afterwards, though—saltwater can be extremely drying.

Get a salt facial and sand body exfoliation

Ever emerge from the ocean and feel your skin is softer than before? The aforementioned minerals in seawater possess cleansing and anti-aging properties, too, improving your skin’s clarity, texture, and elasticity. Submerge your full body and you’ll experience salt’s cure all over.

At the beach, exfoliation—sand’s oft ignored talent—is just a part of the package. Simply walking or digging your feet in the sand can smooth out rough spots and dry skin.

Relax and soak up some sun

You’ve heard it a thousand times—the sun is one of your best sources for vitamin D. But it’s not like the sun is literally projecting vitamin D into your body—UVB rays help cholesterol compounds metabolize into vitamin D, promoting healthy bones, skin, and even your mental outlook (it promotes mood-boosting serotonin in your body). But never forget to slather on some SPF. The trick is getting about 10 to 15 minutes of full-on sun exposure for vitamin D, then applying sunblock with an SPF 30 or higher to avoid burning, sun damage, and potential for skin cancer.

So, a day at the beach is a perfectly productive way to spend your time when it comes to caring for your bod. Forget about the term beach bum—more like beach babe.

Photo credit: Unsplash

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Dana Poblete

Dana's love for all creatures under the sun (bugs, too) drives her in her advocacy for ethical eating, environmental sustainability, and cruelty-free living. A natural born islander, she surfs when she can, and writes, always.

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