Barefoot running also strengthens foot muscles by allowing your feet to move through their natural range of motion. Another benefit is that athletic beach activities burn more calories than running on hard surfaces because you have to expend more energy pulling your legs out of the sand. For instance, you use more energy to lift your knees higher than you would if you were working out on a hard surface. One of the best benefits of physical activity on the beach is the Zen feeling you can experience. You do not have to inhale any fumes or exhaust from passing cars, you get a chance to smell fresh water, hear the waves, see the beautiful ocean, and feel the spray of the ocean breeze. An added bonus is that sand is a great exfoliator so it’s like getting a natural pedicure.
If you are interested in athletic beach activities, follow these tips:
- Take it easy. You may need to keep the length of your activity shorter than usual since you will use more energy on the sand. You don’t want to overexert yourself.
- Do not expect to move at your normal pace. The sand is a more difficult terrain to master, and it will surely slow you down.
- Ease into barefoot running. If you plan on barefoot beach running, run at low tide and closer to the shore where the sand is more compact to avoid injuries. Also, you want to slowly build strength in your feet and ankles. You don’t want to start off doing too much too frequently since your feet and lower leg muscles are accustomed to support from shoes.
- Shorten your stride. Take smaller, quicker steps instead of forcing your feet into the sand. Staying light on your feet will help you from sinking.
- Stay hydrated.
- Protect your skin. Being at the beach means you will be in direct sunlight. Apply sunscreen.
- Keep an eye out for sandcastles and beach holes!
- Don’t forget to stretch. Take the time to thoroughly stretch to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
Now get out there and have fun!