Living near the beach gives us the perfect opportunity to get down on the sand and exercise! All one has to do is go for a stroll at Caloundra or Currimundi in the early morning and you’ll see people walking, jogging and swimming to get their day started. But just because we CAN go and enjoy the sand, is it suitable for all of us? Or should we be wary of the soft stuff? Is it likely to end up in injury if we overdo it?
The below is our take on the pros and cons (ie the good and bad bits) of taking to exercising on the sand.
• It can strengthen your feet and ankles, especially if done bare-foot
• It can improve your hip and pelvic stability
• It’s a softer surface, so you are less likely to get impact-related injuries (eg. stress fractures)
• There’s no traffic (seems obvious, but sometimes it’s nice to not be running on the bitumen or road!)
• It’s relaxing – the waves and sand are a great way to de-stress and take your mind off things
• If you’re not used to going barefoot, running/walking on sand (especially soft sand) can put too much strain on your muscles and tendons. This makes injuries such as achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis more likely.
• The beach is often sloping/cambered, meaning you are always walking/running on an angle, again increasing the risk of injury.
• Walking and running through soft sand requires a lot more muscle strength and activation, resulting in quicker fatigue compared to walking on flat stable surfaces. This can be a PRO if you are trying to get a quick workout, but can result in injuries/strains if overdone.
• Exercising on the sand is best done in small doses, especially initially. Most people will pick up an injury by doing too much, too soon. Give your tendons and muscles time to strengthen and get used to being on the sand.
• Stick to the harder sand – the firmer sand is still softer than being on a footpath, but is still stable enough that you can maintain good walking/running form.
• Only start going barefoot, and only in small doses, if you have been on the sand regularly in shoes (ie. start in shoes, then progress to barefoot).