The Running Bug’s Cornish correspondent Hollie Bone outlines her top seven benefits of beach running.
1. You burn 30 per cent more calories
Running on sand makes you work harder. With each stride your feet sink a little, forcing you to exert more energy than running on tarmac, and burning around 30 per cent more calories.
2. Regular sand running can help to prevent injuries
Running on sand without trainers forces our smaller, stabilising muscles in the knees, ankles, and feet to work harder than running on roads. Therefore, continual beach running and strengthening of such muscles may help to prevent common road injuries.
3. Beaches are a natural assault course
Onlookers must think I’m a mad woman as they watch me fly up and down sand dunes on Perranporth Beach, near Newquay. It’s great resistance training and strengthens the legs.
To put your agility to the test, jump over small piles of drift wood or pools of water, and race the incoming tide for short spurts of speedwork.
4. Give your joints a break
A study by Griffith University, in Queensland Australia, found that landing on soft sand increases the time in which our feet sink into it. The overall stress of pounding on the lower joints, such as ankles and knees, is reduced.
Sand running also allows you to give your calf muscles a good workout without the risk of any impact injuries, and can also reduce the risk of shin splints.
5. Natural refreshment
Nothing beats diving into the ocean after a hard beach run. A soak in the sea won't give you the same recovery benefits as an ice bath, but it will work wonders to sooth your hard-worked muscles while leaving you feeling refreshed.
6. Picture-perfect surroundings
In Cornwall, I am spoilt for choice when it comes to beach running. Perranporth Beach is one of my favourites offering stunning scenery and a lovely sea breeze.
7. Try going barefoot
I feel empowered by the ability to fling off my running trainers and run directly on the sand. It also forces you to grip with your toes, which strengthens both calf and feet muscles.
Beach running tips:
Run on flat, wet sand where possible to avoid tendon strains or ligament injuries
If running barefoot, watch out for shells or broken glass
Do not expect to run at your normal pace. Sinking in the sand as you run will slow you down. Take it easy, be sensible and build up your stamina steadily.
Finally, enjoy it!