5 reasons to try running on sand instead…

5 reasons to try running on sand instead…

Benefits of sand running

This is a guest post by chiropractor Christie Mallett at Cartwright Physicaltherapy.

People often set a goal to shed excess kilos, particularly after a holiday season of eating and drinking too much. The beautiful weather prompts many to begin their new year with resolutions of exercising and becoming more healthy. A lot of people resort to gyms but here are five reasons why you should ditch the cardio machines and head to a sandy oasis to break a sweat.

1. Weight loss

Running on sand is much harder than the average treadmill. Due to the reduced density of the sand, running on it requires more force to push off than doing so from a hard surface like concrete or bitumen. You could burn up to double the amount of calories running on soft sand.

2. Balance

When you run on an uneven surface such as soft sand or even older footpaths and roads, you are forced to activate your core musculature. The core is a complex arrangement of muscles found throughout your abdomen and chest. To keep your balance it requires more effort from these supporting muscles, in particular the internal and external obliques, and transverse abdominus

3. Intrinsic foot muscles

These are all the baby muscles found in your feet and responsible for moving the joints and supporting your foot arch. When running bare foot, these muscles get an extra work out – they will contract more forcefully thus strengthening the arches which helps maintain the natural biomechanics of the body. Before doing so however, check with your health professional that your feet have enough structural integrity to cope with bare foot running.

4. Joints

Running on soft sand reduces the impact force experienced throughout the joints of the body. For those of you who suffer shin splints, hip and knee pain, soft sand running is an excellent form of exercise for reducing impact on your knees. Reducing the impact on your body can also reduce the prevalence of degenerative joint disease and stress fractures occurring later in life.

5. Vitamin D

Everyone has had a day where there has been beautiful sunny weather and the option of couch potato has been selected. This is fine on the odd occasion, but for those who work indoors and rarely see the sun, it can be detrimental to your health.

Vitamin D is vital for good health throughout our lives. It aids bone mineralisation, muscle contraction, nerve conduction and cell growth. There are two forms of vitamin D, one which is formed when sunlight penetrates the skin. Five to thirty minutes of sun exposure per day between 10am and 3pm at least twice per week is the current recommendation. This should be easy to clock up on a weekend.

Be sure to take a dip in the ocean after your run. It’s a tough workout and you’ll need to cool off.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this discussion are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.