The Beach Workout

By Michelle Kennedy, M.S., Best Life fitness expert

Planning a vacation at the shore or a tropical island? Don't worry about getting off track with your fitness routine—you can bring your workout right to the beach. The sand is a great place to exercise; because it's a softer surface then a sidewalk or treadmill, you have to push off harder when walking or doing a move. That means you'll burn more calories! Plus, the refreshing water, warm sun and cool breeze will be a nice change of pace from a stuffy, sweaty gym.

To do this 30-minute workout, all you need is a stopwatch, towel (for some of the moves and to dry off when you're done), tennis shoes (for support and protection) and a cell phone (in case of emergency). And of course, don't forget the sunscreen! Get ready to get sweaty!

Warm-up
Start with a fast walk or a slow jog for about 5 minutes (use your stopwatch to keep track of time).

Sprints
Perform a set of sprints about 20 to 50 feet in distance from start to finish. Do this for five minutes. When you complete a sprint, walk back to the start position quickly and try not to catch your breath too much so you can get in as many sprints as possible. Another option: Take off your shoes, stand near the water and outrun the waves as they crash to the shore. Try not to get wet as you run in and out.

Squats or Lunges
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, hands relaxing at your side or in front of your body for balance. Squat down as though you are sitting in a chair and really stick your bottom out behind you. Be sure not to let your knees cross over the front of your toes. Slowly lift back up to start position. Perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Or if you prefer lunges, you can try walking lunges. Start with both feet side by side, hands on your hips. Take one large step forward with your left foot and bend the left knee to 90 degrees, making sure your left knee doesn't cross over the front of your toes. Push off of the right leg and take a step forward, bending your right knee to 90 degrees, again making sure your right knee doesn't cross over the front your toes. Take10 steps, turn around and come back. Perform two passes or 20 lunges.

Heel Raises
Stand in dry, soft sand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise up on your toes and slowly lower yourself back down. Try not to race through this exercise; zipping through only cheats you of a good workout. And make sure not to touch your heels to the ground (or only let your heels touch a bit) before going back up on your toes again. Perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Push Ups
Lay the towel out on the sand if you want to avoid getting dirty, although it's better if your hands and feet are in the sand. Perform a modified or regular push-up. Remember, form is important; be sure to keep your stomach tight, your back straight and use your chest and triceps to get up. Perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Crunches
Before leaving for your vacation, check out the ab exercises in the Video Library and perform them on the beach. Use the towel to lie on and perform two sets of 20 crunches.

Plank
Roll over so you're lying face down on the towel. Prop yourself up on your elbows and your toes and press up to make a straight line from your head to your toes, keeping your stomach tight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds (set your stopwatch).

Two-Leg Jumps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, jump straight up into the air, bringing your knees up and as close to your body as you can. Land and immediately jump again. Try to do five jumps in a row. If you can handle another set after that, go for it, but this might be something you need to work up to.

When you finish, end the workout with a nice walk on the beach. Then, be sure to kick back and relax—you've earned it!