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The Get-Fit Benefits of Bodyboarding

Bitzer started competing at age 17. (Photo courtesy of Maciel Dias)

Hitting a sandy beach may be the last thing on your mind in early February, but certain athletes train and compete in the surf year-round! To beat the winter blues, we caught up with Brazilian-born bodyboarding pro Roberta Bitzer to discover how she stays in swimsuit shape and why she loves the sport (which is like surfing, but instead of standing on a longboard, you're lying on your stomach on a smaller, lighter board).

  • Make it a family affair. "Growing up, I was inspired to start bodyboarding because I saw how much fun my brother was having surfing. While in college, I took a trip to surf in New Jersey where I met pro surfer Jason Bitzer, who I later married! We're still together and are out in the waves daily near our Hawaii home."
  • Fear not. "Riding without risk of getting injured by hard equipment, like a surfboard, was a big draw for me. A toned body is a great reward in addition to the fun you're having!"
  • Head to the islands. "Hawaii offers the best waves in the world for experienced riders, but any beach with a well-defined wave will make for a fun day."
  • Score a strong core. "The sport trains the upper body, core and legs, but when I'm off the board, I focus a lot on core strengthening workouts. Since you're laying on your stomach—and land on it after an aerial move—a strong ab and back muscles lead to a long and healthy career." [Bitzer especially enjoys resistance tubing exercises.]

Now tell us: What warm-weather workouts are you most looking forward to?