Benefits and Dangers of Beach Running
Running on the beach is really ideal activity to relax after hard working days. On a nice sunny day with the ocean breeze and the relaxing sound of the waves, it can do a lot of good for your body and soul. For many runners, running on the soft sand isn’t as easy as it often looks. However, running on sand provides many benefits that can actually help you become a stronger and faster runner.
Benefits of running on beach
1. Less Impact
Because the sand shifts beneath you, When you run on the beach, your foot lands on a surface which is softer for your foot than the pavement. That means your lower body has less pounding and stress when you run.
Running on sand also gives your calf muscles an effective workout without the risk of impact injuries, and can also reduce the risk of shin splints.
2. Strengthens Your Weak Muscles
There are small muscles in your lower body, particularly in your foot and ankle which we are not used when you run on paved roads, therefore these muscles are very weak. However, during beach running, your body is forced to use these small muscles in order to stabilize yourself, as sand creates an unstable surface for your foot. Furthermore, by strengthening these muscles, you are guarding yourself against muscle imbalances as well as injury. Plus, running on beach also forces the quadriceps, gluteus muscles and hip flexors to all engage more than they often do in a normal run due to the increase in collision time.
3. Burns More Calories
In fact, running on the beach actually allows you to burn more calories in comparison with running on pavement, because you have to exert more effort and muscle engagement to maintain stability. According to a study, you may typically burn about one-and-a-half times more energy than when running on a hard surface. This is really ideal for people who want to decrease their training time but still want to sustain their level of fitness.
4. Change the space, change the feeling
Changing running surfaces or running routes is not only good for you physically, but it’s good for your mentally as well. Instead of running the same roads all the time, you can enjoy the Sun, ocean breeze and sound of waves crashing, enjoying the beach atmosphere, while at the same time, getting in some great exercise.
5. Build more power
According to a study from the University of Western Australia, when running on the beach, a runner has to push into the sand with more force; therefore he builds more power at a certain speed than he would when running on the road or other surfaces at the same speed.
6. Natural refreshment
Diving into the ocean after a long beach run, a soak in the sea will soothe your hard- worked muscles give you a refreshed feeling.
Dangers of running on beach
- Running on the beach puts more pressure on knee joints and the ankle, increasing the risk injury, more so than if running on a road.
- Because the sand allows increased pronation, those who run on soft sand will have posterior shin pain more frequently than when running on other surfaces.
- Feet have a tendency to grasp the sand and stretch in strange ways, so if you run too often in this way, it can potentially lead to plantar fasciitis.
- For those who often run on harder beach sand, which is closer to the water, have to pay attention to an inclined shoreline issue, One leg landing on the higher slope than another can create muscular imbalances and will result in an injury much easier. Therefore, you should look for flat beach with minimal slopes.
Some tips of running on beach
- Your first beach runs should be in the hard, wet sand next to the water, the best time is during a falling or low tide, because it creates the hard-packed surface for running.
- Running barefoot on sand allows the strengthening of your feet and ankles. You should start with short runs in order to build strength in your feet before your body adapts if not you could get injured because you don’t have shoe’s support.
- On some beaches there are a lot of shells and other sharp objects in the sand, so I recommended to wear shoes or sandals when running. A light weight trail running shoe is the best choice because of the additional grip.
Read also about minimalist running sandals.
Although there are more risks than benefits when running on beach, it still can be a positive activity for every runner. In order to reduce injury rates, I recommend that runners should slowly increase their sessions of beach running instead of replacing their regular training activity by beach running.