Try This 30-Minute Beach Workout To Turn Up Your Calorie Burn

Workout out on the beach burns calories while reducing pressure on your joints.

Exercising on beach sand can offer amazing views. There's also the opportunity to reap benefits, like a significant calorie burn with less strain on your joints.

This 30-minute interval workout, courtesy of Zack Daley, a trainer and training manager at Tone House in New York. The workout features running and bodyweight exercises to improve total-body strength and is perfect for beginner and experienced runners.

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Benefits of a Beach Workout

The benefits of working out on the beach come from the sand. Some evidence suggests that exercising on sand uses more energy than working out on firm surfaces. For example, a study published in 2014 found that heart rate and oxygen uptake increase when people exercise on the sand.

Working out on sand can help increase functional ability. One study published in 2020 looked at the functional ability effects of older adults exercising on hard, soft, and sand surfaces. The adults who exercised on sand improved significantly more on functional ability tests than hard surfaces.

Exercising on sand also reduces joint reaction force, or decreased forces created within the joints due to pressure.

Generally, exercising outside can help your mental health. Known as green exercise, working out outdoors has benefits, like:

30-Minute Beach Workout

The 30-minute beach workout gives you a quick sweat and includes running and strength-building moves that don't require weights. 

According to Daley, divide the workout into the following sections:

  • Warm-up
  • Two sets of push-ups and planks
  • Two sets of lunges and jump squats
  • Two sets of bear crawls
  • Two sets of toe touches, plank knee-to-elbows, and bicycle-crunch burnouts
  • Two sets of sprints
  • Cool down

Of note, apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before working up a sweat. Remember to protect your eyes from the sun's glare and hydrate during your workout.


First, take 25–30 large steps from your starting point and make a mark in the sand. That point will be your reference for the "down-and-back" portions of the workout.

These warm-up exercises will boost your heart rate and get your muscles ready to work. Warming up is key to avoiding injury and working at your peak.

To warm up, start at your reference point and perform the following exercises:

  • Light jog or run down and back two times
  • High knees down and back one time
  • Butt kicks down and back one time
  • Run down and back at about 60% of your top speed two times
  • 10 burpees
  • Lateral shuffle down and back two times, facing away from the water
  • Lateral shuffle down and back two times, facing the water
  • Skip down and back one time
  • Run down and back at about 80% of your top speed one time

The Workout

Start with the following two exercises:

  • 15–25 push-ups
  • 10–20 plank walks—alternating from high plank to elbow plank and back

Rest for 30–45 seconds, then repeat the previous two moves.

Then, you will repeat the next two exercises:

  • Walking lunges down and back
  • 20–30 jump squats

Rest for 30–45 seconds and repeat the previous two moves. After you finish the second circuit, bear crawl down and back. Rest for 30–45 seconds, then repeat.

For the final circuit, perform the following exercises:

  • 15–25 toe touches
  • 15 plank knee-to-elbows on each side—in a high plank, bring your left knee to your left elbow, then the right knee to the right elbow.
  • Bicycle-crunch burnout—keep going for as long as you can

Rest for 30–45 seconds, then repeat the last three moves. Then, to finish the workout, sprint down and back twice, aiming to reach your fastest speed.

Cool Down

After you finish the workout, be sure to do some cool-down exercises. Time to cool down is crucial, as with time to warm up. Giving your body time to lower your body temperature and allowing your blood vessels to contract is key.

To cool down, go for a five-minute walk, or at least until your heart rate gets lower than 120 beats per minute. Then, stretch different body parts for 10–30 seconds.

A Quick Review

Try the 30-minute beach workout if traveling to the beach or anywhere with sand. Working out on the sand can help you burn calories without placing too much pressure on your joints. Generally, exercising outside can benefit your mental health, too.

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  1. Binnie MJ, Dawson B, Pinnington H, Landers G, Peeling P. Sand training: a review of current research and practical applicationsJournal of Sports Sciences. 2014;32(1):8-15. doi:10.1080/02640414.2013.805239

  2. Kaewjoho C, Thaweewannakij T, Mato L, et al. Effects of exercises on a hard, soft, and sand surface on functional outcomes of community-dwelling older individuals: A randomized controlled trialJ Aging Phys Act. 2020;1-8. doi:10.1123/japa.2019-0246

  3. Seyam M, Kashoo F, Alqahtani M, et al. Effect of walking on sand with dietary intervention in overweight type 2 diabetes mellitus patients: A randomized controlled trialHealthcare (Basel). 2020;8(4):370. doi:10.3390/healthcare8040370

  4. Wicks C, Barton J, Orbell S, et al. Psychological benefits of outdoor physical activity in natural versus urban environments: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of experimental studiesAppl Psychol Health Well Being. 2022;14(3):1037-1061. doi:10.1111/aphw.12353

  5. American Heart Association. Warm up, cool down.

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