I love BOUNDing Around on the Beach and put it down to the feeling of freedom and nostalgia that comes with playing on the sand. But turns out there could be more to BOUNDing on the beach than just memories of sand castles. For many years, top runners have made running on sand an integral part of their pre-race preparations. Not to mention the amazing effects it’s had on those Baywatch folk. But are the benefits really worth getting sand between your toes? Let’s have a look…
Burn more calories: research suggests that you may burn between 30-50% more calories when working out on sand as opposed to grass or concrete. This is because the muscle groups involved in running have to work harder than usual to stabilise and compensate for lost energy transfer (see point 3). Therefore your body requires more energy so is forced to use more ATP (adenosine triphosphate - the molecule that transfers chemical energy) within your cells for higher metabolism, which will carry on throughout your day forcing your metabolism to heighten and become faster. Which leads to point 2…
Your muscles require more energy post-run in order to recover properly, which is generally known as the after-burn effect.
The elastic energy that is usually transferred to the next step is lost. In order to be able to run powerfully on sand, your body develops a smooth and efficient running technique with a midfoot strike and a stable push-off.
There is less chance of injury by running on a ‘softer’ surface as you avoid stress on your joints.
In order to stabilise yourself during your beach run, your body is forced to use the smaller muscles in your lower body, particularly in your foot and ankle.
Changing training surfaces, along with routes and routines, is good for you physically AND mentally. Results suggest that running on sand can result in a greater physiological response.
It builds muscle throughout our legs Inc. calves, quads and muscles surrounding our knee joint.
BAREFOOT OR NOT BAREFOOT
Now this issue really causes waves…
It is very therapeutic and calming to feel the sand underfoot.
it's a great way to determine your natural gait.
It strengthens the muscles in your feet that may not be engaged when running in trainers.
We are forced to improve the balance that is no longer provided by our trainers.
Running barefoot can result in cuts and abrasions caused by shells or broken glass
If you have weak ankles, you may be putting yourself at risk to sprain.
Muscles of your feet are probably not used to this much strain.
It can make you feel vulnerable resulting in not enjoying your workout.
Generally I LOVE to workout on sand, especially barefoot. I would recommend people give it a try but follow these sandy, erm I mean handy, TIPS:
Short and sweet: Due to the higher demands on your muscles, coordination and stability, your body tires more quickly when running on sand. So start off with shorter workouts; to begin with try just 10-15min jogging or 10 reps of each exercise for 2 sets.
Similarly, Do not expect to run at your normal pace as sinking has a tendency to slow you down. Build up your stamina steadily
Stick to the flat, wet sand near the water to begin with as your foot will not sink in as far. It also helps to avoid tendon strains or ligament injuries
Slopes can present a challenge; you can avoid this by regularly changing direction.
So what are you waiting for? Take your trainers off, channel your inner Mitch Buchannon and go get sandy.