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5 Reasons You Should Try Beach Running This Summer

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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

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      Last Updated on September 8, 2021

      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

      “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

      Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

      Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

      And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

      Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

      In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

      Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

      Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

      1. I don’t have enough time.

      This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

      First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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      Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

      A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

      Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

      2. I’m way too tired to workout.

      Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

      If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

      You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

      If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

      3. But exercise is so boring!

      You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

      So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

      The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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      If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

      4. I have no motivation to workout.

      If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

      What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

      That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

      The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

      Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

      5. I have kids to look after.

      One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

      Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

      If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

      You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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      6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

      What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

      Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

      By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

      7. I don’t feel very well.

      After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

      At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

      If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

      8. The gym is too expensive or far.

      If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

      The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

      There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

      If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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      9. I don’t know how to train properly.

      If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

      However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

      People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

      10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

      This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

      The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

      Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

      Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

      Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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