Who says working out is no day at the beach?
Illustration by Deanna Staffo
It’s June, the perfect month to act our age at the beach. My particular choice is Rehoboth Beach, but anywhere on the Delaware coast will suffice.
And since we’re all responsible adults, we should just haul our bones to the beach, waddle onto the sand, relax quietly under an umbrella, stay away from junk food and go home early. Really?
Walk & Reduce I get an all-day parking pass for the neighborhoods, shedding calories by walking the few blocks to the boardwalk. This also reduces stress by side-stepping hungry parking meters. True, sprints to feed the meters are slimming, but fines for memory lapses only exercise my mouth and middle finger.
Bench Press Since the backs on the historic white boardwalk benches flip from front to back, I can rest my glutes and watch the ocean, then bench press the opposite way to stare at the eternally amusing humanity. If I get up and down enough for food and drink, I can achieve my requisite squats.
Crunches Oh, where to start? Caramel popcorn is the crunchiest, but beach fries come in second. On days I’m up to it I compete in the pizza, taffy, funnel cake triathlon. While I know stretching is key, I avoid holding a French fry aloft to the swooping gulls. Those beastly birds can hover and discharge simultaneously, requiring lunges just to duck and cover.
Balance As in checkbook. Love exercising the debit card. June bargains abound, and with so many shops I can really ramp up my stamina. Clothes, shoes, art, classy T-shirts, not-so-classy T-shirts. Sadly, I can easily spend 5K in 5K. But if I’m picky I can do some stretching of dollar bills along with the hamstrings.
Cardio Workout I’m off to SkeeBall at the arcade, where just the right effort is required to win prize tickets but steer clear of rotator cuff issues. It’s best to avoid hyperextension, meaning you have to bend down and rip the prize tickets off after every game, lest they extend to where other, more hyper players can steal them. The key is flexibility: be happy with the souvenir kazoo or the backscratcher.
Going for the Burn With all this exercise it’s time to relax, but I can still go for the burn on a blanket on the sand. This is a good place to do curls, as in curling up with a good book. Of course, actual burning is unwise, so I apply sunscreen, SPF 146 epoxy. Then I practice my resting heart rate.
Body Building Using a plastic pail and shovel, I do aerobic sand sculpting, building shark and starfish bodies. Burying the occasional human in the sand is fun and it’s low-impact if I only bury willing parties.
Cool Down Where else but in the ocean? I usually need a spotter for this activity to remind me to take off my expensive glasses first. This cool down phase can be exhilarating, but be warned, I have seen it turn into a 100-meter dash at a jellyfish sighting.
Strength Training The evening exercise session is where I build endurance. I start with the 12-ounce Dogfish Head beer and toil my way up to the 18 oz. I’m working on my six pack. Talk about ripped. An alternative is the antioxidant pomegranate martini.
Dumbbell Time This happens as I exit town, working my deltoids by power-lifting my beach chair. I’ve forgotten where I parked. It’s hell getting old.
Chin-ups The car will surface eventually. It can’t be far. And I live here. What can be better than that? Life’s a beach and I can get right back onto this treadmill again tomorrow. As they say, chin up. All of them.
Fay Jacobs of Rehoboth Beach is the author of “As I Lay Frying,” “Fried & True,” and “For Frying Out Loud.”