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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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      Last Updated on November 27, 2020

      12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

      12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

      When thinking about stretching and learning how to become flexible, consider you are doing more than just elongating and strengthening your muscles. You are, in fact, improving circulation of the blood (lymphatic system), and optimizing the depth of your breath, which further enhances circulation[1].

      Stretching and yoga aren’t just trends; they are practices that have been utilized by humans arguably for hundreds of thousands of years or more. In many cases, modern humans have simply forgotten much of their ancestry, and stretching/yoga is certainly an integral part.

      The following stretching routines, if practiced consistently (every day, or a few times a week), will improve your physical and mental well-being, so let’s get into them!

      Here’s a breakdown of all the exercises I’ve covered in the video:

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      1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

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        • Stand straight and tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees just slightly bent, and arms by your sides.
        • Exhale as you bend forward (think of a door hinge movement at the hips), lowering your head toward the floor (imagine the top of your head being parallel with the floor), while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed (do not tense up).
        • Wrap your arms around the backs of your legs, or simply grab and hold the back of your legs; holding anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.
        • Bend your knees and slowly “roll up” back to the standing position when you’re done.

        2. Downward Dog

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          • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
          • While exhaling, hinge at the hips and lower your head toward the floor.
          • Place your hands/palms on the ground.
          • Step back with your feet while keeping a neutral back/spine and with your head/neck in-line with your shoulders and arms.

          3. Deep Lunge and Twist

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            • Start standing with your feet together hip width apart.
            • Take a large step forward with your right foot.
            • Bend your right knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your left leg as straight as you can behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your left thigh.
            • Place your right hand on the floor or in a pray position, and twist your upper body to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling (for a deeper stretch).
            • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes while taking slow and steady breaths.
            • Repeat on the other side.

            4. Piriformis Stretch

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              • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you to start.
              • Cross your left leg over your right, and place your left foot flat on the floor.
              • Place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
              • Place your right hand on your left quad or your right elbow on your left knee (as shown), and press your left leg to the right as you twist your torso to the left.
              • If the spinal rotation causes back discomfort, remove the twist and simply use your right hand to pull your left quad in and to the right.

              5. Figure Four Stretch

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                • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
                • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
                • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
                • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
                • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                • Switch sides and repeat.

                6. 90/90 Stretch

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                  • Sit with your right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, calf perpendicular to your body and the sole of your foot facing to the left. Keep your left foot flexed.
                  • Let your leg rest flat on the floor.
                  • Place your left knee to the left of your body, and bend the knee so that your foot faces behind you. Keep your left foot flexed.
                  • Keep your right butt cheek on the floor. Try to move the left cheek as close to the floor as possible. It may not be possible if your hips are tight.
                  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                  • Repeat on the other side.

                  7. Frog Stretch

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                    • Start on all fours.
                    • Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart.
                    • Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor.
                    • Ensure your legs are maintaining approximately a 90-degree angle (squared off).
                    • Shift your hips back toward your heels.
                    • Move from your hands down to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.
                    • Hold for for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                    8. Butterfly Stretch

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                      • Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to the sides.
                      • Hold onto your feet (or ankles), engage your abs slightly to keep an upright posture with steady breathing, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor. Keep a neutral spine during this stretch.
                      • If you cannot lower your torso, then simply hold the stretch and aim to lower your knees closer to the ground gradually.
                      • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                      9. Tricep Stretch

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                        • Kneel, sit, or stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead.
                        • Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back.
                        • Reach your left hand overhead and grasp just below your right elbow.
                        • Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
                        • Switch arms and repeat.

                        10. Extended Puppy Pose

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                          • Start on all fours.
                          • Move your arms forward a few inches.
                          • Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels, or until you feel a deep stretch.
                          • Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
                          • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                          11. Neck Stretch and Release

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                            • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
                            • Drop your right ear to your right shoulder.
                            • To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your right hand.
                            • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                            12. Standing Quad Stretch

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                              • Stand with your feet together.
                              • Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt. Keep your knees together.
                              • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
                              • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
                              • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                              • Repeat on the other leg.

                              Conclusion

                              The key take away here is that consistency with your stretching routine, followed by good quality sleep and lots of hydration, will instantly begin to improve your quality of life. Find which stretches feel the best in your body and add them to a daily routine you can enjoy.

                              More on How to Become Flexible

                              Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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