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The Best Activities for a Healthy Beach Vacation

Frau nach Sport am Strand
Content Editor & Certified Trainer
Lisa studied journalism and is a certified fitness and health trainer, as well as a meditation coach! She spent many years working for different lifestyle and fitness magazines, and she writes articles for us on the topics of working out, fitness, lifestyle and mind.

There are two types of people who take beach vacations: some immediately think of margaritas and a snooze in the sun, but we see a beach and think it’s the perfect place for a HIIT workout! While both viewpoints have their advantages, vacation is the perfect time to focus on your health and well being.

And sprints on the sand are far from the only beach activity that can get you sweating when you’re finally out of office. Vacation is the perfect opportunity for water sports – a sporting challenge that even the best gym can’t provide. And when you want to relax and recharge after your beach activities, remember to refuel your body. You don’t have to completely give up your margarita on the beach, of course, but you should make sure that you maintain a good balance in your diet. This will provide your body and your mind with the perfect chance to reset and you’ll feel fully refreshed after your vacation is over! So, what exactly might your healthy beach day look like? Read on to find out about which activities are not to be missed and which snacks are perfect for hot temperatures.

Related: 10 Surprising Ways to Stay Active on Vacation

The Best Beach Activities at a Glance

Whether you’re in, or on, the water or you’d rather stay on the beach, we’ve put together the best activities for you.

On the Water

If you want to move from the beach to the sea, there are plenty of sports to choose from that will not only challenge you, but cool you down at the same time. The perfect combination!

Water sports are also ideal training for your core. Wind and water mean you need a lot of stability to keep your balance, which challenges your back and abdominal muscles in particular. It will also develop your coordination and balance.

  • Windsurfing: Windsurfing involves standing on a board with a moving sail attached to it to propel you over the water. This on-trend sport will build strength endurance, while the static hold will work your core in particular, as well as your arms, shoulders, grip strength and calves. As you have to change your stance to maneuver on the board, you’ll develop both sides of your body equally.
  • Kitesurfing: Similar to windsurfing, kitesurfing involves standing on a board, this time with your feet in bindings. Unlike windsurfing, however, the sail (kite) is not directly connected to the board, but flies above you and pulls you across the water with the force of the wind. Your arm and shoulder muscles control the kite, your torso is tensed to maintain balance and your hip and leg muscles control the board. This is an intensive full body workout and we definitely recommend that beginners start with lessons at a kitesurfing school.
  • Surfing: The classic that never goes out of style. Surfing involves your whole body, but especially your back, shoulders and arms – different muscle groups are used in each phase. When paddling out and standing up, the focus is on your back, core, chest, arms and shoulders; once you’re upright, your leg and hip muscles get an intense workout. There’s also the shorter version of the surfboard: the bodyboard, which is usually used lying down.
  • Skimboarding: If you want something a bit more playful, you could try skimboarding. This involves gliding along the shore on a flat, oval board – and with a bit of time and practice, you can learn tricks and small jumps.

In the Water

When it gets too hot on the beach, activities like snorkeling or even scuba diving are the perfect way to cool off. There’s sure to be a diving school in your vacation resort that will provide you with the necessary knowledge and equipment. Alternatively, you can also swim with a simple snorkel and diving goggles and enjoy the peace and quiet under the water — the perfect vacation twist on relaxing meditation.

On the Beach

Before or after the heat of the midday sun is the perfect time to really step on the gas on the beach. You don’t need much for beach volleyball or beach soccer – an improvised court or pitch is quite enough, so round up some friends or take the opportunity to meet new people and away you go.

Jogging on the beach can also be a challenging alternative. Your leg and hip muscles have to work much harder with the sandy surface and your foot muscles also get a tougher workout from barefoot running. Overall, your run’s workout effect is much more than at home in the park and also the stress on your body is more intense, so you should start with shorter distances, listen to your body and be sure that your ankle and knee joints can withstand the strain.

Want to get your workout on with a HIIT session? Then try our HIIT Bodyweight Workout no equipment needed. And the best thing about it is that you can cool off in the sea as soon as you’re done!

Healthy Beach Snacks

If you exercise a lot, you need a lot of energy! If you don’t want to eat just anything, and you want to pay attention to a healthy diet at the beach without feeling you’re missing out, here are our favorite snacks – from sweet to salty – for a great day on the beach:

Carrot cake energy balls

Carrot Cake Energy Balls

Pure energy in the form of delicious carrot cake energy balls – perfect for snacking if you’re craving something sweet after a surf session or a beach volleyball game. The good thing is that the healthy list of ingredients means you can nibble on these power balls with a clear conscience. Click here for the recipe.

Gluten-Free Pizza Sticks

Pizza Sticks Recipe

Sometimes you want something more filling on the beach, especially at lunchtime or in the evening. Our pizza sticks are guaranteed to tempt you out of the water for a snack break! Especially practical as you don’t need any preparation time: the gluten-free dough is already as good as done so all you have to think about is the filling. Try our recipe right now!

Protein Cookies

Sometimes you just want things super quick! If you’re in the mood for a sweet snack on the beach and pronto, our Protein Cookies are just what you need. They stay nice and crisp in your beach bag, even at high temperatures, and they’re both high in protein and low in sugar – so you can eat twice as many!

Our conclusion

It’s your decision — make your vacation active or prefer to take it easy. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, though – you can also find a middle ground that works for you. Indulge in ice cream or fries on vacation, but try to adapt your healthy routines while you’re away instead of abandoning them altogether. Because a healthy lifestyle is not something you need a vacation from! And what should you always remember? Drink plenty of water and don’t forget your sunscreen.

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The original text was revised on 15.07.22 by Natascha Klemm.

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