I HAVE started to contemplate the swimsuit season or, more correctly, the swimsuit.
I know we are all supposed to love our bodies and accept ourselves and all those things ... go the positive affirmation.
But, be honest, is there anything scarier than putting on a tiny piece of fabric, exposing your entire legs and part of your bottom and maybe even your non-six pack abs and parading down the beach in front of strangers?
Right, so we're in agreement then.
If even the word swimsuit strikes fear into your heart, I have a few suggestions.
First of all, get a great swimsuit. One that you feel like a goddess in.
I gave up shopping in those fluorescent-lit swimsuit stores with three-way mirrors years ago and now buy gorgeous one-pieces or bikinis online.
My favourite website - victoriassecret.com, really does have something to suit everyone of every age.
Of course, it's good to support local businesses too, especially ones that provide flattering mirrors or helpful sales assistants.
Secondly, try to care less about what people think of you on the beach.
They probably aren't paying that much attention.
And, if you think they are, do what a girlfriend of mine does and wear a sarong down to the water's edge where you drop it at the last moment and plunge into the ocean.
Lastly, exercise, not because you want to look like one of those anorexic catwalk models, or even "improve" your figure but because it will make you feel good.
Working out increases feel-good endorphins and body confidence.
You won't think, oh my god, everyone is looking at my jelly thighs.
You will think, I feel so energetic and smug after those lunges I did this morning.
In the spirit of that final point, here's a few suggestions for turning the beach or your local swimming pool into your own fitness zone.
If you choose the beach, some of the best things are:
- It's free, it's scenic and it has ready-made fitness facilities - the ocean or a beach pool for swimming laps or cooling down.
- It has golden stretches of sand for walking or running workouts with extra resistance.
- You can organise a ball game, walk the dog, help the children build a sandcastle, or plan a run or rock climb.
Swimsuit season exercise options
Walk through the water
If you don't fancy going out too deep, walking through the water at waist height is also a good resistance exercise.
The pool is safer or, if you are at the beach, the beach pool.
It's fun and it's aerobic. You can use flippers if you like to get you out into the waves faster. Goggles help too. I
f you have children, they can probably give you a few pointers. If you're at the pool, you can use a kickboard to really concentrate your workout on the legs and bottom.
Fantastic for building upper and lower body strength as well as stamina.
If you don't know how to surf, take lessons. But be sure you are a confident swimmer first.
For swell forecasts around Australia, log onto coastalwatch.com.au.
Walk the shoreline
Stand up straight, keep your abdominal muscles tight, and stride from the hips.
Try not to walk on a slope, which can be a problem for those who have lower back trouble.
Sand provides greater resistance than grass, or a concrete surface, so you will get a harder workout. It's great for your legs and butt.
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