Keeping in Shape with the Help of Mother Nature

By Lora Somoza

It’s the time of day you dread. You put on your running shoes, grab your water bottle and grudgingly drive off to the gym. And somewhere between squeezing yourself into a packed yoga class to wiping off someone else’s sweat from the weight bench, you’re ready to throw in the towel. Guess what? You need to add some variety to your fitness routine. But what’s a body to do? Take it outside, that’s what! The Oxnard Beach / Channel Islands Harbor area is ripe with fresh fitness ideas, so now’s the time to start enjoying the great outdoors.

Paddle BoardingStand-Up-Paddleboard

People with all body shapes, sizes and ages are engaging in paddle boarding as a fun fitness activity and a full body workout. SUPing  (Stand up Paddle Boarding) can be as intense as you make it, depending on your balance, strength, speed and endurance. And with just a typical casual pace, you’ll burn about twice as many calories as a brisk walk. The key to mastering paddle boarding isn’t about how strong you are, but rather the technique, so paddle boarding virgins would do themselves a favor and sign up for a lesson at Channel Islands Kayak Center. There, you will get instruction on proper paddling technique and you will be matched to boards for your size.

Kayaking  kayak

What is not to love about kayaking? Out on the water, it’s a beautiful way to explore the harbor and beyond.  And as if that wasn’t bonus enough, your upper body is in for one heck of a workout. One hour of kayaking will produce more work for your arms, chest and back than you’d probably hit in any single gym session. When you are paddling, you can expect to do about 500 strokes per mile.  Placing the paddle in the water and executing a good stroke is going to incorporate every muscle in the upper body and some lower body muscles as well. Plus, this is a low impact exercise, which is great for those of us dealing with injuries. Kayakers moving at a decent pace of 5mph can expect to burn approximately 400 calories an hour. If you need a rental, Channel Islands Kayak Center is your go to place as well.


Want to stay on land but still take advantage of the beach? One of the most popular activities is the Yoga by the Sea series. Located at the Oxnard Beach Park, beach loving yogis flock to the yoga, Pilates, and T’ai chi classes, all performed on the pristine sands of Oxnard. There are no set prices for these classes, they merely ask for a donation and that you arrive on time. As for what kind of classes, you have your pick depending on the day.

Yoga instructor Marketa Huelskamp teaches the popular flow yoga classes: the practice of moving from pose to pose in a smooth, easy manner. There are also Kundalini yoga classes which focus on spinal health.

Come to the beach Pilates class if you want to work on lean muscle strength, and endurance in your legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. Pilates puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core.

T’ai Chi classes are simple moving meditations which are found to have lasting benefits for both mind and body. It’s a great practice to help relieve stress in your busy life.

And just added SUP Yoga! If you have your own paddleboard, you can bring it down and learn to master yoga poses on the water.

See Yoga By The Sea’s website and Facebook’s page for more information.

You may never step foot in a gym again!

More info on waterside recreation.

Yoga-by-the-Sea Photo Credit: Marketa Huelskamp

Kayak Photo credit: Channel Islands Kayak Center


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Rich Yerkovich
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