When it’s time to hit the beach, don’t just head with the idea of getting a sun-tan. You can actually turn a beach-outing into beach workouts. Running or working out on sand poses some challenges for beginners and the experienced alike.
For one, the soft and sinking surface makes it harder for you to walk, run or gain foot stability easily. So you have to work extra hard to gain the good foothold. It also provides excellent resistance which makes your runs and workouts that much more intense. Walking, running or doing bodyweight exercises on sand can help you burn a little more calories than a hard surface like asphalt. But you still need to adopt caution before sinking your feet in, so to speak.
Always warm up
Never skip this essential part of any workout, and more so when on the beach, as the temptation to simply dive into your workout will be too hard to resist. Do not underestimate the softer surface as it will cause havoc on your soles, toes and foot muscles. It’s best to do some knee rotations, ankle rotations and toe stretches before starting the work out.
Know your surface
Not all sand is the same. Some has more pliability, making it harder for you to gain a toehold. Some are harder surface, with more moisture content, which will add a challenge of its own. In addition, the surface on the beach is never even, with slopes and indentations. Running on such a surface is full of obstacles. Be extra wary on the sand, when running or walking.
Try barefoot runs
Barefoot running is one of those things that only comes to you gradually. This makes use of your toe as a grip working out your calves and feet, more than otherwise. A beach is an excellent place to test this for the first time, but just make sure there are no sharp bottle shards or shells sticking out before deciding to let go of your shoes. For times when you run with shoes on, keep a separate pair for your beach runs. This means you are used to that pair on the surface, and less chance of sand getting into from every pair you own.
Keep it simple
Do not complicate things with a complex workout or speed intervals. Keep it simple and make sure you are getting adequate exercise, not the most intense one. For example, leave the weights at home and simply do some squats and pushups for your beach workouts. Crunches might be a bit too messy with the sand, so perhaps you could skip that too.
Play a game
Instead of straightforward beach workouts, you could try playing football, cricket or even frisbee on the beach. These are great group activities and make it easier for you to get into your stride. But ensure you have warmed up before getting into the action.
You may start slowly on most days, but it’s more crucial for sand running than otherwise, as sand can be much more challenging than hitting the pavement which does not have any ‘give’. Slow down, build stamina and endurance, and then run full-tilt.