#HealthBytes: Beach running is excellent for you. Know its benefits
If you are looking to make your cardio workouts more challenging, running on the beach is a great way to burn calories and become stronger. Truth be told, beach running is not as fancy (or easy) as you may have seen in the movies. But if done right, it offers a host of benefits and is an excellent way to a healthier you!
Reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries associated with impact
Running on the sand provides a softer landing than when you're running on hard surfaces, and this puts lesser stress on your ankles, knees, and hips. This significantly reduces the chance of impact-associated musculoskeletal injuries. To support this, a study conducted in 2017 showed fewer markers of muscle damage in participants who ran on the sand, as opposed to those who ran on grass.
Challenges the core muscles and improves stability
When you work out on the sand, your core muscles are engaged to help with stability and balance. Running on an unsteady surface thus challenges the core muscles to work more by recruiting them in the gait cycle. Studies conducted prove that core endurance training helps in making the runs more efficient as better endurance means less energy output over time.
Strengthens the smaller muscles and tendons
When your feet strike the sand while running, the smaller muscles and tendons have to stabilize to keep the ankle from rolling. While other leg exercises work out the major muscle groups alone, beach running targets the smaller muscles and helps to build strength. It is thus an ideal workout to build strength and stability in the feet and ankles.
Requires more energy and thus burns more calories
Running on the sand is a form of resistance workout. Owing to this, the large lower body muscles work with an added resistance and hence more energy is required to propel the body forward, thus burning more calories. To make the most of your beach runs, begin by wearing shoes and later move to barefoot running when your feet, ankles, and knees get stronger.