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5 Reasons You Should Try Beach Running This Summer

5 Reasons You Should Try Beach Running This Summer

It’s summer time! Summer requires a tight sexy body. And what better way to get in shape and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds indigenous to the beach than by enjoying a run through the sand at sunset?

Besides feeling the sand between your toes and the sun on your face, research shows there are quite a few health benefits of running on the beach.

Benefits of Running on the Beach

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Woman_running_barefoot_on_beach

    1. Beach running provides a more intense workout than running on a hard flat surface does

    According to Dr. Thierry M. Lejeune of St. Luke’s University Clinics in Belgium, running on sand requires 1.6 times the energy that running on a hard surface requires, and your body has to work harder to respond to external modifications. And when you compare running on sand with running on concrete, gravel and grass in terms of calories consumed, running on sand is clearly a more intensive workout and burns more calories.

    The reason for this is that the muscles perform more mechanical work when running or walking on sand than on a hard surface, and your foot works harder to displace sand, and the muscles don’t function quite as efficiently. For example when running in wet sand you may slip a bit and have to fight the friction; this adds to the difficulty of the workout.

    It comes down to simple physics. Moving through sand is harder than moving over a flat smooth surface. The harder an activity is to perform the more energy you expend.

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    2. Beach running is easier on your knees and joints

    Running is a high-impact sport. In general, it puts stress on your knees, ankles and feet which can mean achy joints, irritated tendons, and other running-related injuries. And the harder the surface, the more stress you put on your joints and tendons

    One of the benefits of running on the beach is that the surface is softer and more malleable than concrete which translates into less knee and joint pain. Running on sand forces our smaller, stabilizing muscles in the knees, ankles, and feet to work harder than running on roads or grassy surfaces. Plus, since sand is soft, you can run on the surface with a lower risk of sustaining impact injuries–such as shin splints.

    3. Running on the beach improves overall athletic ability

    Another one the great and surprising benefits of running on the beach is that it makes you stronger, faster and improves your balance.

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    Dr. R. Amadeus Mason, a team physician for USA Track and Field and an assistant professor of orthopedics likens beach running to “running with weights on your ankles. it’s harder to get your foot planted into the ground, and it’s harder to get your foot up off the ground.”

    Running on the beach adds an element of resistance training and engages muscles differently than they are accustomed to being used. Your entire body has to work harder not just your legs.  Your arms have to pump harder to help propel you forward your core tightens and contracts faster and harder to give you the necessary stability you need. And all the extra work makes the heart pump faster and harder in an effort to supply all of your muscles with clean oxygenated blood. The result is a stronger and more efficient body.

    4. Running on the beach provides a phenomenal lower body workout

    When the sand moves beneath your feet it engages your ankles, arches and calves and causes them to become stronger. A study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” found that, both road running and sand running increases vertical jumping ability and thigh circumference. However, those who participated in sand running  experienced the most physiological and performance changes.

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    5. Beach running provides a more comprehensive workout in a shorter time span

    One of the most significant benefits of running on the beach is you increase the benefits of exercise while being able to shorten the duration of the workout. When you run on the beach you:

    1. Burn more calories in a shorter time span
    2. Add resistance training to your workout
    3. Raise the intensity level of the work out
    4. Build both strength and endurance simultaneously.

    Tips for a successful beach run

    Photo Credit: Mike Baird on Flickr
      Photo Credit: Mike Baird on Flickr

      Here are a few tips to keep in mind when beginning beach running:

      • Run on wet sand
      • Try to run during falling or low tide
      • When you first begin running in sand, wear shoes and then gradually work up to running barefoot.
      • Pace yourself–begin with short runs and then increase the time as your body adjusts
      • Wear lots of sunscreen
      • Watch closely for sharp objects such as rocks, seashells, metal and glass in your path especially when running barefoot
      • Listen to your body–when you first begin running on the beach you will experience some soreness as your body becomes accustomed to functioning a bit differently. However, if you feel real pain or intense tenderness or fatigue stop and rest.

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      Denise Hill

      Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on February 24, 2021

      How to Find Workout Motivation When You Hate Exercise

      How to Find Workout Motivation When You Hate Exercise

      It’s easy to fall into a mindset where you hate exercise. It does, indeed, demand a lot from you. You have to use special clothes, develop a routine and exercise habit, get out of the comfort of your own home, and wear yourself out to the point where you just want to collapse into bed. Fortunately, while there are a lot of reasons to dislike exercise, there are even more reasons to love it.

      If you want to stop hating exercises and making excuses to avoid it, here’s how to tackle each one of those exercise excuses, get into action, and give your body the attention it craves.

      1. You Don’t Have to Exercise 30 Minutes Each Day to Get Results

      Most of us have a number that we think we should hit in order to exercise “enough.” For some people, this is the daily recommended minimum of 30 minutes. For others, it’s 45 minutes of weight-training plus another 45 minutes of cardio.

      I’m not going to put up a fight with your number here. What I am going to do is challenge your idea of starting with that number right away. You see, even though 30 minutes a day might not seem like a lot, 30 minutes a day for the next 5 years is actually too much for your habitual brain to process.

      So yes, everyone can do 30 minutes of daily exercise for one week. But how many people can do that for the next 5 years?

      Starting small has the advantage of bypassing your brain’s fight-or-flight response, the mechanism that make you sabotage yourself when you are trying to do something that seems “big” for too long and makes you hate exercise.

      This way, instead of mindlessly starting with an exercise program, you focus on building the habit first, and then once you are exercising a little bit every day, you are ready to expand how much exercise you do.

      2. You Don’t Have to Force Yourrself to Do It

      If you have to force yourself to do it, then there is a 90% chance that you are doing it wrong, and you will never stick to exercise.

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      Some people are motivated by challenges and others pushing them, while others hate it.

      If you are one of the people who hate it, stop trying to change yourself, and of course, stop treating yourself as if you were one of those people who are motivated by challenges and being pushed. The more you use this approach on yourself, the more you’ll hate exercise and avoid it in the long term.

      Instead, change the way you approach exercise. Stop falling into what I call the “Happiness Paradox Trap.” Instead of starting with what you think you “should do,” start with what feels good.

      Maybe weight lifting and running aren’t your thing, but have you tried Zumba or Pilates classes? Maybe you hate the feel of a gym, so try getting into cycling instead. Don’t feel that there’s one right way to go about it, and do your best to make it your own.

      3. You Can Regain Motivation Easily

      We think that motivation is the answer to sticking to exercise. If only we wanted it enough, then we would make it happen.

      However, motivation is always there. If you feel you wish you exercised more, then you are motivated to exercise. If you are not doing it, it’s not because you are not motivated. It’s because something stops you.

      It might be the activated fight-or-flight response we talked about in #1. For example, when you feel that you have too much to do, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, and you do nothing.

      People who have already made exercise a daily ritual don’t depend on boosting their motivation to get off the couch and exercise. They just do it, naturally, without debating it with themselves, desperately trying to get themselves into action.

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      Maybe you think you need to devote 1 hour and you don’t know how to do that. Or, maybe you think you need to suffer to get results. Whatever the real reason is, find it. Only then will you be able to figure out a way to remove the obstacle that is on your way.

      4. You Do Need Exercise to Lose Weight

      Many people only care about their weight. Yet, our bodies are naturally wired to feel good when we move. Here is a quick list of the benefits of exercise:

      • Decreases the risk of various diseases and bad health conditions, like high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.
      • Increases longevity. Many research studies support the fact that exercise can reverse some signs of aging and reduce chances of death by any cause.[1]
      • Improves mood. Exercise does not just help depressed people; it helps everyone, even those who hate exercise. A quick workout or walk stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
      • Increases your energy levels. Regular physical activity boosts your endurance and helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently. And yes, that means more energy available for you.
      • Improves sleep. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better and fall asleep more easily, as long as you don’t exercise a couple of hours prior to bedtime.
      • Improves sex life. Erectile dysfunction? Lack of libido? Just lack of energy? Exercise may help with all of that.
      • Helps you better control your weight. Exercise helps you burn calories, plus you build muscle that generally burns more calories than fat. Exercise is a great add-on to a diet or weight maintenance plan.
      • Gets you better lab results, even if you are overweight. Did you know that an obese person who is fit, i.e., exercises regularly, will show better lab results than a thin person who never exercises?

      5. Exercise Doesn’t Require All of Your Attention

      Maybe you are currently busy with your work life, or you are planning a trip next week. Maybe your child just got sick and needs your constant attention. Shouldn’t you just wait until you can give exercise 100% of your attention?

      This rationale once again sounds plausible, but just like the “I don’t have time” excuse, is it really true? Is not starting because you are not “ready” the best thing for you right now? Is neglecting yourself and your body for a few more weeks/months/years a good strategy?

      Finally, how many months or years will you spend before you get all your ducks in a row?

      6. Exercise Can Be Interesting

      Most advice in response to this excuse tells you to find something that you actually like. Yet, I know that for most people, exercise itself is rarely the thing that makes you hate exercise. Having to do it for “too long” is the issue.

      That’s why I said that if 30 minutes are boring, try 5 or 10.

      Now, if this idea of starting small stresses you out, let me remind you the wisdom of #1–the fact that you may want to be exercising one hour a day doesn’t mean you have to start from one hour right away. You can start small, and as you feel more and more comfortable, build your way up.

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      Getting into a fitness program or hiring a personal trainer for a couple of weeks can also help you find a routine that interests you.

      7. You Can Rewrite the Negative Past Experiences

      I understand that you came last at the sprint race when you were at school. I understand that you may feel embarrassed when you attend fitness classes. Luckily, your past does not need to define your future.

      A client of mine wanted to start jogging. She started by walking around the neighborhood. Yet, she found out she felt really uncomfortable feeling that her neighbors were watching her.

      She accepted that, and worked her way around it. Instead of walking around her own block, she walked around the block next to her own block, and the problem was solve. A few months later, she was already jogging 2 miles a couple of times a week.

      8. Exercise Doesn’t Need To Be a Hassle

      If you think you need to exercise for an hour, take a shower, and drive to the gym and back, then you have two hours gone, just like that. You might like moving your body, but you certainly don’t like having to spend all this time working out!

      Luckily, exercise that gets you results doesn’t have to take all this time and scheduling brainpower.

      To start, you could do something that takes less time and planning, like exercising at home. You may feel more comfortable if you get to work out within sight of your comfy sofa instead of driving 20 minutes to the nearest gym.

      You can also try automating. For example, if you go to the gym after work, make sure your gym bag is ready from the day before, so you don’t have to deal with that during your busy morning.

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      9. You Do Have Enough Time to Exercise

      Even though we know people busier than us who actually exercise, we keep saying we are “too busy,” and we hate exercise for making us even busier.

      Have you ever thought that being “busy” is actually a lie? If there are busier people than you who make it happen, then so could you. Yet, even though we acknowledge that, we still believe it’s true.

      It’s time to admit that time is not the main issue. It’s probably the way your are prioritizing things, and you are afraid you’ll have to give up something else in favor of exercise. Whatever the real reason, you need to find it if you want to give your body a chance to thrive.

      If you don’t know where to start when finding time to exercise, check out Lifehack’s free 4 Step Guide to Creating More Time Out of a Busy Schedule.

      10. Exercise Will Not Take Time Away From Other Things

      You might be worried that exercise will take too much of your time, or that you’ll need to give up another hobby or time with your family to do it.

      If you don’t want to hate exercise, you must first stop making it the enemy. If it is the thing that will “stop you” from doing other things, you’ll likely never convince yourself that it’s worth it.

      However, if exercise becomes the thing that will help you become healthier, be more active for your kids, and focus more at work, it then becomes a necessity that you’re willing to make room for in your life.

      The Bottom Line

      It can often feel natural to hate exercise. Life is already demanding a lot from us, and exercise is just one more thing we have to squeeze in. However, once you realize all of the benefits you can receive from it, it will feel less like a chore and more like the part of your day you look most forward to.

      More on Getting Into the Exercise Habit

      Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Maturitas: Exercise and longevity

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