Sun, Surf and Sweat

Don’t just lie in the sun, get up and run.

Going to the beach is practically synonymous with summertime fun. However, the fitness-minded among us need not be content with lying motionless on a blanket. Running on the sand, for example, burns 1.6 times more calories per mile than jogging on hard surfaces while reducing the impact force on your joints. But before you lace up your running shoes, as always, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, sand running (like trail running) provides a fluid and often hazardous terrain. Anyone who’s tweaked an ankle while chasing a Frisbee across the dunes understands the variability of such an environment. A smooth running track or familiar urban landscape is easier to traverse. Running on the beach requires deeper concentration to navigate the uneven surfaces, unpredictable variables and changes in sand consistency. A good way to start is by wearing running shoes and choosing a path of wet, soft but hard packed sand near the water.

What about those dying to feel the sand on their bare feet? Dr. Romanov of suggests we remain aware of these major premises:

*It is about the body weight location on a foot during the support time.
*Move forward by leaning, not by pushing.
*Pull the foot from the ground.
*Keep high cadence and do not worry about stride length.

Brisk walking while barefoot is a safe alternative for those unable or unwilling to try an all-out jogging pace.

Another version of beach running takes place in the ocean itself. Wade in until you reach water at least waist-deep and then begin running in a direction parallel to the shoreline. The resistance offered by the water will present the feeling of running in slow motion. The higher the water, the more your arms and torso become involved. Again, be aware of sudden shifts in the topography under your feet.

Outside of running or walking, you can keep that beach body firm and toned by performing yoga poses in the sand, choosing up sides for a touch football game, or simply going old school by diving in for a vigorous swim.

Mickey Z. likes the beach but hates the sand. He can be found on the Web at