Happy Mother’s Day:
Now that we’re finally getting some “beach’n'” weather, why not take your workout surfside? Running on the sand not only burns 1.6 times more calories per mile than running on a hard surface, it is actually a total body workout. It strengthens your ankles, arches and muscles below the knees as well as develops power in your lower legs in a shorter time frame than when running on hard surfaces. It also engages your upper body as you struggle to maintain your balance. Your abs, back and shoulders all get a workout as you shift through the unbalanced terrain.
However, as with all exercise routines, be prepared. To start, you’ll need to run with good running shoes. And make sure you are on the wet, “soft” but “hard packed” sand near the water. Keep your head up and your back straight and land midfoot. Be careful, the bad traction in the softer sand will cause you to run on the balls of your feet. To compensate, lean your body forward and drive your knees and arms higher.
If you want to run in your bare feet on sand, go right ahead. It is even better for you. Running bare foot helps you because it allows for a fuller range of motion – enhancing the quality of your workout by making you more coordinated and have better balance. However, if you’ve been away from running for a while or don’t have experience running without shoes, get in some practice with shoes first and limit your barefoot running to about 20 minutes in firmer wet sand.
This will help to build foot and leg strength and reduce the risk of injury. Then, add five minutes to each run until you’re getting in your full workout.
Again, be careful, while running on the sand is easier on your joints, it may cause your heels to sink and foot to slide on its push-off, leading to an achilles injury, plantar fascities or calf and ankle sprains. However, you can limit the risk of such injuries by running closest to the shoreline at low tide. The sand in that area is a bit more stable but still provides for a challenging workout!