When you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, it would be crazy not to make good use of it.
So if you need a change from pounding the treadmill, or even the tarmac, then why not try hitting the sand?
Besides the obvious scenic benefits (check out this article about the benefits of training outdoors), soft sand running has a number of things going for it.
For starters, it’s suitable for pretty much anyone with average fitness levels. That is apart from those with injuries or excess weight who won’t get the support they need from the shifting surface.
It’s kinder on your joints because the softness of the sand reduces the impact.
It’s awesome for cardio fitness because you have to raise your legs higher than you would road running to move through the sand. That means you’ll be working harder and burning more calories.
Your core muscles will also benefit, because they have to work hard to stabilise your body as the sand shifts under foot. Moving through the soft sand will also strengthen the stabilising muscles in your ankles, helping to prevent future injuries.
But despite all these pluses, there are still a few things you need to bear in mind when hitting the sand:
1. Ease yourself into it.
Running barefoot in sand is very different to road running in trainers. Do it too often, or in just the one direction, and you may end up with hip, knee and ankle issues. About once a week is a good plan and start off slow, even walking, so the necessary muscles build up strength.
2. Stay light on your feet.
Run on your toes – your heels should hardly be making contact. But don’t let those tootsies dig too deep into the sand otherwise you’ll struggle. It’ll slow you down and also make the activity much harder. Stay light.
3. Protect yourself
While bare feet work well on the soft sand, you’ll need more protection if you’re also running on wet sand. Mixing the two can provide a great workout but you need to wear a decent pair of shoes. Running on hard sand is like running on cement and, with bare feet, can be damaging