You cannot fully experience summer at the beach until you swim in the ocean. There are many benefits: natural resistance training, aerobic exercise, balance challenge and good fun. If it has been awhile since you have been at the beach, don’t allow yourself to get away without a dip in the waves. Take pleasure in using the current and waves to provide results for exercise purposes. The water creates buoyancy for relief of stress to your muscles and joints, resistance from the waves you work against, and balance training for abdominal control. Be careful of the undertow. In bigger waves, the draw underneath may be strong- creating stress if you are not prepared to use safe and proper reactionary tactics. Undertow is a wave under the water causing an unexpected push and pull unless you find the rhythmic groove of changing your body’s reaction to varying water patterns. Whether you are jumping waves at knee or waist high, or crawl swimming to a particular point, you will feel that you have accomplished much by taking advantage of these benefits. Ocean swimming is refreshing and humbling. It can be brisk if the temperature is cool. Ocean swimming requires rhythm, timing and lack of fear. Once you commit, you’ll be glad you did. An accomplishment of getting in the water, jumping waves, body surfing, or swimming to a particular point is empowering. To feel the power of the wave and be able to move with it is mighty incredible. Some people enjoy swimming atop the waves for distance, be it in the bay, to Block Island, or a raft. Either way, it requires the ability to continue on for a long time. Ocean swimming requires good ankle strength and the ability to react to an uneven surface until you get out far enough to be floating. As you go into deeper waters, this also pertains to your knee or hip reactionary skill. Something as minimal as walking on wet sand can be alarmingly strenuous and uneasy. But by doing this, a person can progress to a higher level of function. Walking on wet sand can improve your balance, stability and overall confidence. By moving in the ocean or treading in neck-deep water, you can simulate riding a bicycle- easing the stress to your hips, knees and back muscles and joints. For people with arthritic joints or who are recuperating from an injury, this can be fulfilling and may help to alleviate some of the discomfort. Realize that by reaching out into the water allows your shoulders, neck and trunk to stretch, elongating your muscles. Balance, stability, and quick reactionary skills are fundamental to surfing, wake boarding, and sail boarding. One way to prepare for an outing in the waves is to first check your level of balance. Practice standing at the sink on one leg, touching off from the counter. Do not allow your knees to hyperextend, or bend too far backward. Do not allow yourself to be too tipsy, swaying out of control. Touch down and regain your balance. Practice again concentrating on quality, not quantity. If you have difficulty performing this, you may need to get into a strengthening and balance routine before attempting ocean swimming. As always, check with your physician if you have concerns. Have fun. Don’t let summer go by without a chance to try ocean swimming.