Walking on the sand is good for your health

So, it’s summer. And what do we do in the summer? That’s right! We go to the beach. And while you’re there, you’ll be happy to know that walking on the sand can be proven surprisingly beneficial for your health and fitness.

The sand has a high resistance when you walk on it, more than the road, a floor, or most surfaces for that matters. So when you walk on the sand, you force your muscles to work more and to work harder thus you exercise the biggest part of your body without even knowing! So running on the sand helps you build fitness and strengthen the calves, ankles and quads, says Ironwoman Naomi Flood. It's an unstable surface, so it forces your body to work hard to balance and remain upright, and it provides resistance. And of course, there is a skill to running on it. Flood says the trick is to adapt your usual running style. "Soft-sand running is quite taxing on the body, so stabbing your toes into the sand and running mainly on the balls of your feet is the best way to float across the sand. Soft-sand running is great for fitness and also builds strength in the calves, ankles and quads."

Also, walking in sand -- with or without shoes -- burns more calories than walking on pavement. As reported in a 1998 Belgian study appearing the "Journal of Experimental Biology," walking on dry sand requires 2.1 to 2.7 times more energy-expenditure than walking on a hard surface at the same speed. That's awesome news if you're looking to burn more calories when you walk. According to BerkeleyWellness.com, when you opt for seaside walking, you can expect to use up to 50 percent more calories than you would walking at the same pace on a firmer, more stable surface.

So you could trek across a desert but given a choice most of us would choose to stroll on a beach. In fact many of us would choose to spend our time walking on beaches even if there were no health benefits.

However we should always be careful in order to have positive results that will contribute to our well-being and not the other way around. Don’t forget that one of the many benefits of beach walking is that walking is relaxing so don’t forget to stop and pick up a pretty shell, look for porpoises playing in the surf, and notice the always changing colors of the water and the sky. Also, don’t walk around unprotected when the sun is too bright and hot (which is between 12:00-17:00), and of course never forget to cover yourself with some sunscreen! Finally, as in every other exercise, when walking on the sand you need to stay hydrated, so always keep with you a bottle of water – you may have sea water a few feet away but it’s salty and getting in and out in order to stay hydrated will ruin your walk.

So what are you waiting for? Go to the beach and start walking on the sand to make yourself healthier!


By: Bill Thompson | Medical | Aug 16 2015
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