With the cooler weather setting in, exercise is a fantastic way to combat the winter blues.
Soft sand running is an excellent way to exercise and make the most of the quiet beaches, however it can also lead to many issues if done incorrectly.
This month’s article will go through how to safely and effectively receive all the benefits from running on the beach.
Soft sand running is much more beneficial than running on the road as less force is placed on your joints and your whole body is made to work much harder.
Before you even begin to run, the first bit of advice about soft sand running is to assess the terrain. It needs to be flat. This may sound trivial, but many of the beautiful local beaches that we are blessed with have been affected by the tides, and in parts are actually on a large incline.
If you were to run on this incline you would be more susceptible to causing many injuries to your body, as the incline places an increased load on the side of the body on the down hill side. This creates a twisting strain through the body.
You may think it is ok to run down the beach one way and then just even up your body on the way back. Unfortunately this is not the case.
As we run, we cause fatigue in our muscles and joints and while running on the incline, we change our running technique.
So potentially you will be running differently on the way back home, and this being the case, not ‘evening up’ the load through your body. You might actually be creating new strains.
So the first tip is always run on a flat section of the beach. Some beaches have no flat areas so avoid these beaches.
To really get the benefits of running on the sand you need to be barefoot. This makes your feet work harder and will increase the strength in your toes and ankles.
This will not only help your joints but will actually increase your balance in everyday life.
If you have never run barefoot you need to build up to it. Start by walking along the sand without shoes and slowly build up. You can also use socks to run in, if your feet are perhaps too soft from wearing shoes all day, every day.
The next tip would be where on the beach to run. To get the full benefits of running on the beach you need to run in the soft sand rather than the hard sand.
In the soft sand, your toes will grip more and your muscles are working harder to propel you forward.
This is why sand running is so beneficial. Your body will be working harder, causing quicker fatigue and you might find you won’t be able to run as far as you would on a hard surface.
This is completely normal, as you are still getting the same benefits.
So get outside, even if the weather is a bit chilly at the moment- it makes for perfect conditions to start using our fabulous beaches to increase your cardio fitness and whole body strength.
If you have any questions about which beaches to use locally or how to run on the beach please ask one of our practitioners.