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Exercises fit for Muscle Beach

Beach fitness
For those intrigued by the possibility of exercise in the ocean breeze and sunshine, solitude is only an iPod away, but so’s a welcoming community of people who can demonstrate a martial arts move or deconstruct a back flip. On a recent weekend in Santa Monica, we found men and women doing acrobatics, practicing yoga, playing in-line hockey, walking the slack line and more. We offer the low-down on the appeal of beach workouts, what muscle groups each activity targets, and whether it qualifies as a good cardio-vascular workout. (Calories are approximate and based on a 150-pound person exercising for an hour.)

Information on the benefits of the various exercises was provided by Steven Hawkins, associate professor of exercise science at California Lutheran University, who says that working out at the beach adds an important dimension: exercising in sand. “It’s harder to run in sand, and harder to jump repetitively,” he says. “The ground also gives when you land, so it’s going to put a little different strain on muscles and joints. If you’re not used to it, you’re going to be sore the next day.”

Push-ups

Name: Ahmad Saleh, 32

Benefits: Executing a push-up like this ratchets up the difficulty level, since the center of gravity shifts and the arm bears much more of the body’s weight. Similar to a bench press, muscles used include the triceps, pectorals and deltoids. Raising and lowering the body on one or both arms also engages the entire arm, including the biceps, and shoulder muscles. Calories burned per hour (based on vigorous calisthenics): 550.

Why the beach?: “There is no seniority here. Everybody learns from each other. I have a great day, working out for about seven to eight hours. When you do these things, your brain is so clear and you’re happy.”

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(Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)

On a recent weekend in Santa Monica, we found men and women doing acrobatics, practicing yoga, playing in-line hockey, walking the slack line and more. We offer the low-down on the appeal of beach workouts, what muscle groups each activity targets, and whether it qualifies as a good cardio-vascular workout.


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