Hitting the beach this summer? Did you know that relaxing trip could provide you with the opportunity to get the best kind of workout? Whether you’re going away on vacation or just hitting the shore for the day, you can take a break from sunbathing to get a brief, intense workout as well – which might help combat the calories from all of those poolside frozen daiquiris. How do you do it? Just walk or run on the sand.

Sand provides a natural traction that challenges your muscles (especially the lower legs) to work harder than usual. Because the terrain is uneven, it makes you work harder to sustain your pace and balance as you go. This means that you can burn almost twice as many calories than you would by covering the same distance on a level surface, like asphalt.

Walking, jogging or running along the shore doesn’t have to be a major excursion that feels like exercise. You can invite a friend to walk with you, making it into a shared exploration rather than a chore. You can make a game of it, like collecting seashells, counting umbrellas or endeavoring to walk to the farthest pier (perhaps rewarding yourself with some frozen yogurt when you get there). Because the full sun can be brutal, the best times for this walk may be sunrise or sunset. Either time frame is the perfect opportunity to ask your significant other to join you for a long, romantic stroll.

Just remember – it may be more of a strain than you’re used to when you cover the same time or distance on a track or treadmill. Be especially aware of staying hydrated, stretching in advance and allowing an ample cooling-down period. Most importantly, be sure you don’t get so carried away…remember that you have to walk all the way back!