After 82 games and change, you’re trying to tell us you’re still not sick of basketball? Well, neither are we, but it’s time to diversify your sporting options to stay in shape and get ready for the court next year. We skip on swimming and volleyball to bring you five activities you may not have given a shot—so head to the nearest beach for some memorable cross-training, and maybe catch a tan while you’re at it.
Frisbee meets football, ultimate frisbee (or just plain “ultimate”) has been making strides in moving from being a mainstay of college quads everywhere, man, to a legitimate professional sport with a league of its own (http://mlultimate.com/). Like basketball, it involves a heady mix of cardio and explosive sprinting and puts your upper body to work, too. However, when played in sand, it becomes much more challenging to get up to speed, taking your regular leg workout to a new level and working stabilizer muscles in your ankles you didn’t know you had.
Badminton’s tougher, cooler big brother won’t get sand kicked in your face if you’re caught playing. Known as paddle ball or Matkot in Israel, Brazil and other beach-obsessed countries, beach tennis is played the right way with a dense squash ball and a pair of wooden racquets, not plastic dollar store accoutrements. Wooden paddles can weigh almost three-quarters of a pound, meaning you’ll be feeling an extended session in your wrists, shoulders and biceps. Dipping and diving for the ball will also torque your midsection.
No, those paddles people carry on the L-train aren’t for self-defence. Dragon boat clubs are becoming a thing in urban areas with beaches, challenging participants to become part of a team that must stroke in synch and throwing in a dash of CrossFit ethos—you can’t stop rowing, or the whole thing falls apart. Rowing is an absolute monster on the upper body and core muscles, so it’s a great sport if you want to pack on muscle with a view to the ocean.
Stand up paddleboarding
Not every beach is blessed with killer pipe waves, which in all fairness is probably a good thing, but that shouldn’t stand between you and board sports like stand up paddleboarding. It combines surfing and rowing into an insane core workout, and you can paddle board in most bodies of water, including lakes. The best part is it’s extremely simple to pick up—you won’t waste a day of your vacation learning just to stand up as with surfing, so you can get straight to blasting those abs and arms. There’s probably a club near you that can help make the introduction.
If you enjoy the cardio benefits of running but want to spare your joints a jarring ride, take off your socks and go for a jog along the surf. Wet sand acts as a semi-stable surface, forcing you to engage small muscle groups all the way up your legs and to your core to keep your balance and speed. 15 minutes of this type of jogging will have you sweating, which is great if you want to get a workout in before chilling out under the sun.