How to Turn the Ocean Into Your Gym

Our water circuit turns a day at the beach into the perfect workout.

Photograph by Eric Ray Davidson

1.Wade out beyond the break and pick a landmark—a lifeguard chair, a house—that's about 50 yards down the beach.

2. Start swimming freestyle parallel to the beach. Once you're in front of your landmark, stop, rest, then swim back to your start point. Do this 10 times.

3. Next, go out into the surf until you're in chest deep and start treading water, with only your legs, keeping your hands above the waves. Try to leg-tread for two counts of 30 seconds.

4. If you still have gas in the tank, head into deeper water and, using your arms and a scissor kick, launch your body out of the water as high as you can. At the peak, clap your hands above your head—do three sets of 10.

5. Lastly, return to chest-high water and turn so you're facing the sideways current. Sprint for about 20 yards with explosive, short, quick high-knee steps, keeping your arms in the water. Congrats . . . you've officially earned a beach nap.

How to Swim Out of a Rip Current

A rip current, or riptide, forms when there's a narrow channel perpendicular to the shore. After waves roll onto the beach, instead of flowing straight back out, they drain into a channel, creating a powerful, fast-moving river out to the sea.

Many people think a riptide is simply a strong undertow—that moderate sea-bound tugging you feel at your feet and legs when wading among the waves. It's not. Rip currents flow from sand to surface in one direction.

They're easy to spot from the beach: Look for a choppy, sometimes sandy swath of water (about 10 to 20 feet wide) that runs from shore to sea and stays relatively flat as waves roll in on either side of it.

If you're caught in the tide, there are two rules: Don't panic and don't fight it. Even the strongest swimmer can't stroke against a rip current for long. So relax and let the current take you—it won't pull you under, and it won't drag you out too far. Once you feel the current weaken, swim to the side (parallel to the beach) for a few minutes. Once you're free, turn and swim back to shore.

—By Mike Dawson

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