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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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    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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      Published on February 14, 2019

      15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

      15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

      Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

      The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

      Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

      Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

      1. Drink More Water

      W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

      Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

      Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

      2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

      It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

      The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

      3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

      Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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      Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

      4. Start Stretching More Often

      Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

      Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

      So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

      Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

      15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

      5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

      You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

      The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

      HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

      Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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      6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

      For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

      It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

      7. Build More Lean Muscle

      We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

      • Improved posture
      • Reduced body fat
      • Improved metabolism
      • Strong bones
      • Protects and improves joint health
      • Improves stamina

      Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

      How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

      8. Decrease Body Fat

      This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

      • Improved joints and tendons
      • Lowered risk of diabetes
      • Reduced risk of heart disease
      • Reduced inflammation
      • Better performance and endurance
      • Improved appearance and confidence
      • Better hormonal profiles in your body

      Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.[2]

      Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

      Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

      9. Eat More Greens

      What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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      Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

      Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

      10. Start Eliminating Sugar

      Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

      There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

      Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

      11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

      The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

      If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

      12. Get More Sleep

      When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.[3]

      Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

      13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

      It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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      Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

      Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

      14. Take Your Fitness Outside

      This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

      Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

      Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

      15. Do at Least One Pull Up

      This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

      If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

      The Bottom Line

      It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

      This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

      How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

      Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
      [2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
      [3] Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

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