Benefits of Beach Running: Everything you Need to Know

8th July 2019
If you live in a coastal area, you have to start beach running as soon as possible. It'll greatly improve your health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and injuries on your knees, hips, and ankles.

For many runners used to running on asphalt or roads, beach running might not appear as easy as it may seem. However, doing so offers many benefits that can help you become a stronger and much faster runner. In this article, we’re going to tell you about the benefits of beach running.

Jogging in the sand allows you to take in the sun, the ocean breeze and the sound of breaking waves, enjoying the unique atmosphere while, at the same time, performing a great exercise. Changing training surfaces, paths, and routines, is not only good for your physique, but it’s also positive on a mental level.

Certainly, sand is one of the most difficult surfaces you can run on. For that reason, it’s advisable not to overstrain your body; it knows its own limits. You need to give your body time to adjust before increasing the time and intensity, in order to minimize the pain and reduce the risk of injury. Remember, you’ll get a more challenging workout running on the sand than you would be running on the pavement!

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What are the benefits of beach running?

1. You burn more calories

The first thing you should take into consideration is that beach running allows you to burn more calories compared to running on other harder surfaces.  The reason is that you have to work harder and demand that your muscles maintain stability on rather soft terrain.

This extra effort makes you burn more calories than if you did it elsewhere. This is really ideal for people who want to decrease their training time, but who want to maintain their level of fitness.

Beach running

2. Beach running strengthens your body

Of course, beach running demands that your body uses more energy to move around. This is why you’ll begin to develop strength in the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and ankles.

Keep in mind that running, especially on the road or on a machine at the gym, is a repetitive, flat and monotonous exercise.

The most common injuries among runners are those involving the feet and ankles. These happen because running on sidewalks, while it engages the thighs and abs, can weaken the ankles.

However, as sand is a less-than-stable surface, your body is forced to use your lower legs muscles to gain stability. Beach running engages your whole lower body and makes every set of muscles stronger.

3. Less impact

Because the sand moves under your weight, when you run on the beach, you step on a surface that’s softer for the foot. That means that the lower part of your body receives fewer bumps and stress when doing this exercise.

Also, beach running gives the leg muscles an effective workout without the risk of impact injuries.  For the same reason, it helps reduce the risk of leg cramps.

4. Beach running means fewer injuries

As we mentioned, by running on sand you’ll put less stress on the joints that support weight, such as the hips, knees, and ankles. This fact can help to reduce the risk of injuries associated with the impact, such as stress fractures.

Discover more: A Good Warm-up can Prevent Injuries

In any case, if you wish to reduce the risk of suffering any type of injury, we recommend that you slowly increase the length of your beach running sessions instead of using it to replace your regular training activity.

5. More fun

Finally, choosing a smooth surface such as sand is a smart way to diversify your training routine. In this sense, one of the greatest benefits of beach running is that it’s an ideal activity to relax after an intense day of work.

Changing running surfaces or routes isn’t only good for your physique; it’s also greatly beneficial for your mind. In fact, running on the sand helps, among other things, to have fun and clear your mind. Also, it complements your training effectively.

Remember that, if you want to start running on the beach, your first times should be on the hard, wet sand next to the water. The best time to start running is during low tide because it creates a compact surface to run.

 

  • Pinnington, H. C., & Dawson, B. (2001). The energy cost of running on grass compared to soft dry beach sand. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 4(4), 416–430. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1440-2440(01)80051-7